Data Snapshot: Declines in Child Poverty Continue in 2017

Overall Rate Still Above Pre-Recession Level
September 13, 2018

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Key Findings

For the first time, rates in cities dipped below the pre-recession level, although poverty is still slightly higher in rural and suburban places than in 2007.

The official poverty measure indicates that child poverty declined by 1.1 percentage points between 2016 and 2017, according to analyses of the latest American Community Survey data released today. By 2017, child poverty across the nation was still 0.4 percentage point higher than before the Great Recession. Child poverty remained higher in cities and rural places than in the suburbs. For the first time, rates in cities dipped below the pre-recession level, although poverty is still slightly higher in rural and suburban places than in 2007. 

The South remains home to the highest child poverty rate, while rates are lowest in the Northeast. Across the nation there is substantial variability both in the child poverty rate and in the way the rate has changed since the Great Recession (see Appendix Table 1 and Map 1). Twenty-five states have child poverty rates that are similar to pre-recession levels, and ten states now have child poverty rates lower than before the recession. It is critical to remember that the official poverty measure is only one measure of economic challenge and many families living above the poverty line still struggle to make ends meet.