Special Report

Towns With the Worst Child Poverty Rates


To determine the towns where the most children live in poverty, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of child poverty rates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

We used census “place” geographies — a category that includes incorporated legal entities and census-designated statistical entities. We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 1,000 people and less than 25,000 people.

Towns were excluded if the child poverty rate was not available in the 2020 ACS, if the number of children for whom poverty status was determined was lower than 500, or if the sampling error associated with a town’s data was deemed too high.

The sampling error was defined as too high if the coefficient of variation — a statistical assessment of how reliable an estimate is — for a town’s child poverty rate was above 15% and greater than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all towns’ child poverty rates. We similarly excluded towns that had a sampling error too high for their population, using the same definition.

Towns were ranked based on the share of children living in poverty. To break ties, we used the number of children living in poverty.

Additional information on median income for families with children, the share of households with children receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the share of households headed by single mothers are also five-year estimates from the 2020 ACS.

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