As of 2019, more than 12 million U.S. children — 16.8% of all Americans under the age of 18 — were living below the poverty line in this country. This is significantly higher than the overall poverty rate of 12.3%.
Child poverty varies widely from state to state. In some parts of the country, fewer than 10% of children live below the poverty line. In others, more than a quarter of children are impoverished. None of the six New England states have a child poverty rate exceeding the U.S. average for children of 16.8%. On the other hand, of the seven states with child poverty rates over 20%, six are in the South. These are 16 states where poverty is worse than you might think.
Though the federal poverty level is the same for all states and the District of Columbia, the reality is that a dollar goes much farther in some parts of the country than others. In some states, the cost of living for most families of two is less than $45,000 per year, including housing and food costs. In other states, that cost can be well over $65,000. This is the income a family really needs to avoid poverty in every state.
To determine the number of children living in poverty in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.