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Mississippi, Louisiana are among the states with most children living in poverty

Samuel Stebbins
24/7 Wall Street

With a $21.4 trillion economy, the United States is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth. Despite the vast economic resources, however, a staggering 39.5 million Americans live below the poverty line – and about 12 million of them are children.

Though the threshold varies by family size and composition, for a family of three with one child under age 18, the poverty line is set at an annual income of about $20,600. Based on the different thresholds, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 16.8% of American children live in poverty. The concentration of serious financial hardship for American children varies considerably by geography, however – and child poverty is far more common in some parts of the country than in others. 

Using data from the Census’ 2019 American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. determined how many children live in poverty in each state. In some states, more than one in every four children live below the poverty line. 

The states with the highest child poverty rates also tend to be the poorest states. In these places, the overall poverty rates across the entire population also tend to be high. 

Those living in poverty struggle with several negative impacts, including stress. And for children, these negative effects can have life-long implications. Children living below the poverty line are more likely to struggle academically and less likely to complete high school. Ultimately, this can make them less employable and more likely to struggle financially as adults.

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Alabama.

Alabama

• Children in poverty: 228,412 (18th most)

• Child poverty rate: 21.4% (6th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 15.5% (7th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 4.6% (6th highest)

Alaska

• Children in poverty: 22,921 (5th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 13% (15th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 10.1% (13th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2% (4th lowest)

Arizona

• Children in poverty: 308,459 (11th most)

• Child poverty rate: 19.1% (13th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13.5% (13th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.9% (9th highest)

Arkansas

• Children in poverty: 151,448 (24th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 22.1% (4th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 16.2% (5th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.9% (9th highest)

California

• Children in poverty: 1.4 million (2nd most)

• Child poverty rate: 15.6% (24th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.8% (25th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.9% (25th lowest)

Colorado

• Children in poverty: 135,405 (22nd fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 10.9% (5th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9.3% (7th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.2% (6th lowest)

Connecticut.

Connecticut

• Children in poverty: 101,233 (18th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 14.1% (22nd lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 10% (12th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.6% (17th lowest)

Delaware

• Children in poverty: 32,277 (8th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 16.4% (22nd highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.3% (22nd lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.7% (21st lowest)

Florida

• Children in poverty: 737,415 (3rd most)

• Child poverty rate: 17.7% (17th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 12.7% (19th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.5% (17th highest)

Georgia

• Children in poverty: 461,456 (6th most)

• Child poverty rate: 18.7% (14th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13.3% (14th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.7% (12th highest)

Hawaii

• Children in poverty: 36,461 (11th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 12.4% (13th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9.3% (6th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3% (24th highest)

Idaho

• Children in poverty: 58,188 (13th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 13.2% (17th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.2% (21st lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.3% (9th lowest)

Illinois

• Children in poverty: 436,327 (8th most)

• Child poverty rate: 15.7% (23rd highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.5% (25th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.9% (25th lowest)

Indiana.

Indiana

• Children in poverty: 230,725 (16th most)

• Child poverty rate: 15.2% (25th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.9% (24th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.2% (21st highest)

Iowa

• Children in poverty: 92,018 (16th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 13% (14th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.2% (20th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.8% (23rd lowest)

Kansas

• Children in poverty: 101,094 (17th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 14.7% (23rd lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.4% (24th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.7% (21st lowest)

Kentucky

• Children in poverty: 212,130 (20th most)

• Child poverty rate: 21.7% (5th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 16.3% (4th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 5.1% (3rd highest)

Louisiana

• Children in poverty: 288,732 (13th most)

• Child poverty rate: 27% (2nd highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 19% (2nd highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 6% (the highest)

Maine

• Children in poverty: 32,746 (9th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 13.8% (20th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 10.9% (19th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.6% (17th lowest)

Maryland

• Children in poverty: 156,992 (25th most)

• Child poverty rate: 12% (10th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9% (4th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.6% (17th lowest)

Massachusetts

• Children in poverty: 154,457 (25th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 11.6% (9th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9.4% (8th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.6% (17th lowest)

Michigan.

Michigan

• Children in poverty: 371,020 (10th most)

• Child poverty rate: 17.6% (18th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13% (17th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.4% (19th highest)

Minnesota

• Children in poverty: 143,006 (23rd fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 11.2% (7th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9% (3rd lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 1.9% (2nd lowest)

Mississippi

• Children in poverty: 192,413 (22nd most)

• Child poverty rate: 28.1% (the highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 19.6% (the highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 5.7% (2nd highest)

Missouri

• Children in poverty: 229,336 (17th most)

• Child poverty rate: 17.1% (19th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 12.9% (18th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.4% (19th highest)

Montana

• Children in poverty: 32,888 (10th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 14.9% (24th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 12.6% (20th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.7% (21st lowest)

Nebraska

• Children in poverty: 51,085 (12th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 11% (6th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9.9% (10th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.2% (6th lowest)

Nevada

• Children in poverty: 114,886 (20th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 16.9% (20th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 12.5% (21st highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.2% (21st highest)

New Hampshire

• Children in poverty: 17,609 (3rd fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 7.1% (the lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 7.3% (the lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 1.6% (the lowest)

New Jersey

• Children in poverty: 235,470 (15th most)

• Child poverty rate: 12.3% (12th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9.2% (5th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.3% (9th lowest)

New Mexico

• Children in poverty: 115,997 (21st fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 24.9% (3rd highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 18.2% (3rd highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 4.8% (5th highest)

New York.

New York

• Children in poverty: 711,686 (4th most)

• Child poverty rate: 18.1% (16th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13% (16th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.7% (12th highest)

North Carolina

• Children in poverty: 440,230 (7th most)

• Child poverty rate: 19.5% (11th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13.6% (12th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.7% (12th highest)

North Dakota

• Children in poverty: 17,823 (4th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 10.2% (4th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 10.6% (17th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.5% (10th lowest)

Ohio

• Children in poverty: 466,168 (5th most)

• Child poverty rate: 18.4% (15th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13.1% (15th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.7% (12th highest)

Oklahoma

• Children in poverty: 186,392 (23rd most)

• Child poverty rate: 19.9% (8th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 15.2% (8th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 4.1% (8th highest)

Oregon

• Children in poverty: 110,323 (19th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 13.1% (16th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.4% (23rd lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.7% (21st lowest)

Pennsylvania

• Children in poverty: 434,904 (9th most)

• Child poverty rate: 16.9% (21st highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 12% (22nd highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.5% (17th highest)

Rhode Island

• Children in poverty: 28,009 (6th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 14% (21st lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 10.8% (18th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.8% (23rd lowest)

South Carolina

• Children in poverty: 214,772 (19th most)

• Child poverty rate: 19.7% (9th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13.8% (10th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 4.2% (7th highest)

South Dakota

• Children in poverty: 31,425 (7th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 15% (25th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 11.9% (23rd highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.1% (23rd highest)

Tennessee.

Tennessee

• Children in poverty: 290,815 (12th most)

• Child poverty rate: 19.7% (10th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13.9% (9th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.7% (12th highest)

Texas

• Children in poverty: 1.4 million (the most)

• Child poverty rate: 19.2% (12th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 13.6% (11th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3.9% (9th highest)

Utah

• Children in poverty: 91,433 (15th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 9.9% (2nd lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 8.9% (2nd lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2% (4th lowest)

Vermont

• Children in poverty: 11,320 (the fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 10.2% (3rd lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 10.2% (15th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.6% (17th lowest)

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Virginia

• Children in poverty: 244,953 (14th most)

• Child poverty rate: 13.4% (18th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9.9% (11th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.6% (17th lowest)

Washington

• Children in poverty: 196,520 (21st most)

• Child poverty rate: 12% (11th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 9.8% (9th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.6% (17th lowest)

West Virginia

• Children in poverty: 69,975 (14th fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 20.1% (7th highest)

• Overall poverty rate: 16% (6th highest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 4.9% (4th highest)

Wisconsin

• Children in poverty: 167,605 (24th most)

• Child poverty rate: 13.5% (19th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 10.4% (16th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 2.3% (9th lowest)

Wyoming.

Wyoming

• Children in poverty: 15,088 (2nd fewest)

• Child poverty rate: 11.6% (8th lowest)

• Overall poverty rate: 10.1% (14th lowest)

• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 3% (24th highest)

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