Millions More Children Living in Poverty-U.S. Census Bureau Reports

September 16, 2010

According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today, more than one in every five children- or 15.5 million children in America—lived in poverty in 2009. This is an almost ten percent increase over 2008.

The Census Bureau data released today document just how far off course our country remains in protecting our children and investing in their future and our nation’s future. It reported the following details about child poverty in 2009:

  • A total of 15.5 million children, or one in every five children in America, lived in poverty in 2009. Over five million of these children were under the age of five. Poverty is defined as an annual income of below $21,947 for a four-person family.
  • Of these children, almost half—6.9 million—lived in extreme poverty, defined as an annual income of less than half of the poverty level ($10,974 for a family of four). 2.4 million children living in extreme poverty in 2009 were under the age of five.
  • Children of color continue to suffer disproportionately from poverty:
    • 4 million Black children—more than one in three—live in poverty.
    • 5.6 million Hispanic children—one in three—live in poverty.
    • 4.9 million White, non-Hispanic children—more than one in ten—live in poverty.
  • Between 2008 and 2009 child poverty increased by almost ten percent.

This is an unsettling picture of child poverty in America. The Great Recession has thrust millions of children and families into poverty, jeopardizing the promise of a productive future for children and our nation. Unfortunately, millions more are likely to be impacted by the effects of the recession over the coming years unless and until we have the courage to act decisively and invest in the future of our children.

To see how children in Minnesota are faring see the newly release KIDS COUNT databook and county-by-county data.