Special Report

How Many Children Live in Poverty in Your State

With a $21.4 trillion economy, the United States is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth. Despite the vast economic resources, however, a staggering 39.5 million Americans live below the poverty line — and about 12 million of them are children. 

Though the threshold varies by family size and composition, for a family of three with one child under age 18, the poverty line is set at an annual income of about $20,600. Based on the different thresholds, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 16.8% of American children live in poverty. The concentration of serious financial hardship for American children varies considerably by geography, however — and child poverty is far more common in some parts of the country than in others. 

Using data from the Census’ 2019 American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. determined how many children live in poverty in each state. In some states, more than one in every four children live below the poverty line. 

The states with the highest child poverty rates also tend to be the poorest states. In these places, the overall poverty rates across the entire population also tend to be high. Here is a look at the income a family really needs to avoid poverty in every state

Those living in poverty struggle with several negative impacts, including stress. And for children, these negative effects can have life-long implications. Children living below the poverty line are more likely to struggle academically and less likely to complete high school. Ultimately, this can make them less employable and more likely to struggle financially as adults. Here is a look at the cities where the most people graduate high school.

Click here to see how many children live in poverty in your state.