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New Poverty Rates by State Released

Today the Census Bureau released results from the American Community Survey (ACS), including new data on estimates of poverty for every state in the nation. This survey is a significant tool that allows us to gauge local economic progress, along with many other indicators of family and community health, such as education, family structure, household income, and the racial and ethnic makeup of communities.

For the first time since the release of figures in 2007 – and similar to the release of poverty statistic from the Current Population Survey earlier this week – there has been no change in the rate of poverty nationally or in 43 states between 2011 and 2012. If you look at the data over the past decade, however, you see rates increasing over time:  the poverty rate increased from 12% in 2000 to 16% in 2012, and the rate of people living in extreme poverty – or half the poverty threshold – also increased, from 5% in 2000 to 7% in 2012.   

To help users explore this data and compare their state to the nation and their neighbors, Next Generation has updated an interactive graphic to include new data for 2012. The graphs below contain data for the last eight years available from the ACS, and by selecting states on the right-hand column, users can compare and contrast overall poverty rates and child poverty rates across the country. Further, by hovering over each line, a tooltip will appear displaying precise information for that year and state. 

Source: American Community Survey, 1-year Estimates, 2005 to 2012

The data clearly show that child poverty rates continue to be significantly higher than poverty rates overall. In an ironic twist, in many states that have seen declines in their poverty rate since the Great Recession, child poverty rates have continued to climb or remain relatively stable – a poor outcome in any case.

These relatively stagnant poverty figures are sadly similar to other data released from the ACS, including information on household income. In 44 states across the country, there was no statistically significant increase in the median income from data released in 2011, with real median incomes falling in both Missouri and Virginia.

Next Generation will continue to explore and explain these new data and what they mean for the future of children and families in this country.  And through our efforts with the Too Small to Fail campaign, we will continue to communicate with parents, communities, and business leaders to start finding solutions to issues affecting the lives of children and their families – particularly among the youngest and most vulnerable children in the country.   

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