States Lifting the Most Children Out of Poverty

Print Email

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

10. Arkansas
> Change in no. of poor children due to public programs: -49.1%
> Supplemental child poverty rate: 12.7% (25th highest)
> Supplemental child poverty rate w/o public programs: 24.9% (17th highest)
> Avg. child tax credit payments per household: $277.12 (24th highest)

Arkansas has a relatively young population, which may make child care a greater financial burden on the state’s working-age population and further necessitate the need of government anti-poverty programs.

Like in many states with larger young populations, government assistance has a relatively large impact on child poverty in Arkansas. The average household — with or without children — receives $1,698 in assistance, which reduces the number of children in poverty by nearly half. School lunch programs account for 14.8% of subsidies and tax credits received by Arkansas households, the fifth largest share of any state.

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

9. Nebraska
> Change in no. of poor children due to public programs: -49.3%
> Supplemental child poverty rate: 10.7% (15th lowest)
> Supplemental child poverty rate w/o public programs: 21.1% (19th lowest)
> Avg. child tax credit payments per household: $353.70 (4th highest)

Nebraska is one of only four states that completely matches the federal child and dependent care tax credit for eligible families. Families with incomes of $22,000 or less can receive the full amount of the federal CDCTC from the state, with the credit reduced by 10% for every $1,000 the family earns above the $22,000 threshold.

The average Nebraska household — with or without children — receives $353.70 in child tax credits and $284.44 in school lunch subsidies a year, each the fourth most of any state. Nebraska residents receive an average of $1,894 in subsidies and credits per household, which reduces the number of children in poverty by 49.3% — more than the 41.8% national reduction.

Source: EunikaSopotnicka / Getty Images

8. South Dakota
> Change in no. of poor children due to public programs: -49.4%
> Supplemental child poverty rate: 9.4% (6th lowest)
> Supplemental child poverty rate w/o public programs: 18.5% (12th lowest)
> Avg. child tax credit payments per household: $277.93 (23rd highest)

Public programs such as SNAP, WIC, and school lunch subsidies reduce the number of children in poverty in South Dakota by 49.4%, more than the 41.8% national reduction.

Like in many states where public programs have the largest impact on child poverty, South Dakota has a relatively young population, which may make child care expenses a greater burden on the working age population. Nearly one in every four state residents are under age 18, the sixth largest share of any state. Annual child care expenses amount to nearly $978 per South Dakota household — with children and without — $263 more than the national average.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

7. Maine
> Change in no. of poor children due to public programs: -50.1%
> Supplemental child poverty rate: 10.1% (13th lowest)
> Supplemental child poverty rate w/o public programs: 20.2% (16th lowest)
> Avg. child tax credit payments per household: $247.72 (15th lowest)

In Maine, public assistance programs such as food stamps, school lunch subsidies, and child tax credits help reduce the total number of children in poverty by 50.1%, far more than the 41.8% national reduction. The SNAP program accounts for 30.2% of all government assistance dollars received in Maine, the largest share of any state.

One factor that may account for the large impact of government programs in Maine is the state’s high recipiency rate of public benefits. According to Census data, 24.8% of poor families in Maine receive some form of public assistance income, the fourth largest share of any state.

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

6. Oklahoma
> Change in no. of poor children due to public programs: -50.2%
> Supplemental child poverty rate: 11.7% (18th lowest)
> Supplemental child poverty rate w/o public programs: 23.5% (21st highest)
> Avg. child tax credit payments per household: $356.50 (3rd highest)

Oklahoma is one of only four states with its own version of the federal earned income tax credit, child tax credit, and child and dependent care credit assistance programs. Oklahoma residents who qualify for the federal ETIC are eligible to receive 5% of the federal credit amount, and families who qualify for the federal child tax credit and child and dependent care credit assistance programs may claim either 5% of the federal CTC amount or 20% of the federal CDCTC — whichever is greater.

The average Oklahoma household receives $804.52 in EITCs and $356.50 in child tax credits, the fifth and third most of any state, respectively. In total, public programs reduce the number of children in poverty in Oklahoma by 50.2%, far more than the 41.8% national reduction.