Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

AUDIO: NCCP Announces New Data on the Demographics of Child Poverty

Hundreds of new leaders have taken the helm at federal and state agencies responsible for implementing policies that touch the lives of poor children. It is imperative that they do so with a real understanding of the disadvantages  millions of Americans face from very young ages and what growing up poor looks like in America. That’s the message NCCP researchers delivered in a recent media teleconference when the center released its annual reports on the demographics of child poverty in its series entitled Basic Facts about Low-Income Children. Dr. Heather Koball, director of Family Economic Security programs at NCCP, discussed key findings, drawn from the most current statistics available, which reveal exactly how severe child poverty remains in the U.S.:

  • In 2015, while 30 percent of adults had low incomes, more than 40 percent of all children lived in low-income families — including 5.2 million infants and toddlers under 3 years.
  • Despite significant gains in household income and reductions in the overall poverty rate in recent years, 43 percent (30.6 million) of America’s children are living in families barely able to afford their most basic needs.
  • The number of children in low-income families increased slightly — from 42 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2015 — and the percentage of poor children in the U.S. increased by 1 percentage point.

“The number of children experiencing poverty is still stubbornly high,” Koball said. “We have nearly 300,000 more children living near poverty today than at the height of the Great Recession.” She added that, with children in the United States having an almost one in two chance of living in a financially disadvantaged household, the effects of poverty continue to pose a real threat to millions of children, affecting their health and mental health, social interactions, and earnings potential as they grow to adulthood.

The full recording of the media teleconference is now available on the center’s website. Download the 2017 Basic Facts About Low-Income Children here.