The poverty rate for school-age children remains above pre–recession levels in approximately 30 percent of America’s 3,140 counties.


The U.S. Census Bureau found the rate increased in 928 counties from 2007 to 2013 and fell in just 15. These statistics are taken from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program, which provides single-year income and poverty statistics for all counties and school districts. Nationally, the poverty rate for school-age children is 20.8 percent, or roughly one in five.



“County school-age child poverty rates are still above their prerecession levels in metropolitan areas of California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, as well as the coastal areas of the Northeast and Great Lakes states,” Wesley Basel of the Census Bureau’s Small Area Estimates Branch said in a statement. “State and local programs use these statistics for distributing funds and managing school programs.”

The study found the rate is above the national average in 972 counties, mostly concentrated in the South and West. In New Mexico and Mississippi, more than 80 percent of counties had poverty rates greater than the national average. Overall, 15 percent of school districts had poverty rates greater than 30 percent for school-age children.

However, the study found 902 counties had poverty rates for school-age children that were lower than the national average. In five states, 80 percent of counties had rates lower than the national rate: Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

More than two thirds of the 40 counties with median household income estimated to be higher than $80,000 are located in the northeast corridor of metropolitan areas stretching from Boston to Washington, D.C., the report found. Estimated median household income among these higher-income counties ranged to nearly $120,000. For comparison, the U.S. median household income in 2013 was $51,939.

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