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How many children live in poverty in your state?

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TOMO // Shutterstock

How many children live in poverty in your state?

Mollie Orshansky, an economist at the Social Security Administration, created an official poverty measure in the 1960s. The United States still uses this same measure today; it aims to account for miscellaneous expenses and the cost of food, but there are evidently many other factors that contribute to the severity of poverty. A few examples include geography, cost of living, accessibility of education, and more. So a national standard is difficult to set.

In a similar vein, wealth distribution and social welfare are not equally accessible to people in the United States. According to Equitable Growth, only 23% of wealth came from the bottom 90% of the U.S. population in 2016. Huge subsets of a city’s population depend on resources that alleviate chronic issues like poverty.

In 2017, the official poverty rate was 12.3%, with 39.7 million Americans living in poverty. This rate is 0.4% lower than that of 2016 and also signifies the third consecutive year the official poverty rate has gone down.

The Children’s Defense Fund reported that one in every six children in America live in poverty. And, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, child poverty decreased from 17.4% to 16.2% percent from 2017 to 2018.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Children’s Health Fund, Feeding America, LIFT, and Save the Children are just a few charities dedicated to improving the lives of the nation’s most vulnerable. And many states create their own indexes to account for the variations unique to their home.

Stacker sifted through data from the U.S. Census SAIPE State and County Estimates for 2017 to find the number of children who live in poverty in each state. The data is further split with numbers of children in poverty in the 0–4 and 5–17 age groups.

Keep reading to find out how many children live in poverty in your state.

Update, 11/21/18, 12:15 PM: A note of clarification: the values reported in this story reflect estimates determined by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program, not exact counts of the number of children who live in poverty in each state. As a result, the sum of children in the 0–4 and 5–17 age groups may not precisely match the total value reported for a given state.

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Public Domain Pictures

#51. Vermont

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 14,656 (12.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 4,145 (14% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 9,803 (11.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $58,271
- County with the most children in poverty: Chittenden County (2,850 children, 9.9% of children in this county)

Vermont has one of the lowest poverty rates in the entire United States, but the estimated number of kids in poverty under the age of 18 is more than 10,000. So, to actively address those statistics, Vermont is working to make childcare more accessible.

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Michel Rathwell // Flickr

#50. Wyoming

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 17,316 (12.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 5,392 (15% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 11,265 (11.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $61,279
- County with the most children in poverty: Laramie County (2,625 children, 11.6% of children in this county)

Climb Wyoming is an organization focused on elevating mothers by offering professional and financial resources. The organization has helped 1,700 mothers and 3,500 children supporting mothers through developmental programs.

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Ron Reiring // Wikimedia Commons

#49. North Dakota

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 19,661 (11.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 6,759 (12.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 12,386 (10.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $62,400
- County with the most children in poverty: Cass County (479 children, 16.5% of children in this county)

From 2000 to 2017, the number of children living in poverty in Cass County has increased greatly. But in comparison to the rest of the U.S., North Dakota has the second-lowest rate of child poverty.

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Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#48. New Hampshire

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 25,283 (10% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 6,744 (10.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 17,303 (9.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $73,638
- County with the most children in poverty: Hillsborough County (67,670 children, 21.4% of children in this county)

The Kids Count Data Center reported that New Hampshire actually saw an increase in the number of children who live in poverty from 2016 to 2017. For children who are living in a household with income 200% below the federal poverty level, in 2016 there were roughly 59,000 kids living in poverty and that number jumped to 60,000 in 2017.

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Paxson Woelber // Flickr

#47. Alaska

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 26,079 (14.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 8,208 (15.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 16,855 (13.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $74,058
- County with the most children in poverty: Anchorage Borough (8,527 children, 12.2% of children in this county)

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and within Anchorage Borough. Community health centers, subsidized child care, and minimum wage requirements are a few endeavors the Alaskan Department of Health and Social Services credits to helping reduce poverty in the state.

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Becker1999 // Flickr

#46. District of Columbia

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 32,353 (26.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 11,445 (25.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 20,504 (26% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $80,153
- County with the most children in poverty: N/A

Child poverty has been decreasing for the last decade in the District of Columbia. Yet, the cost of living has been increasing. And, 42% of children in the district came from families whose parents didn’t have steady employment.

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Jon Platek // Wikimedia Commons

#45. South Dakota

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 33,977 (16.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 10,579 (17.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 22,503 (15.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $56,871
- County with the most children in poverty: Minnehaha County (4,681 children, 10% of children in this county)

Minnehaha County doesn’t provide assistance to minors living apart from their parents. But according to the county’s government website, it links lack of affordable housing to homelessness. It also reported that roughly 106,646 people in South Dakota are at risk of going hungry and 68% are forced to choose between buying food or paying utility bills.

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Slashinme // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Maine

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 35,045 (14.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 9,522 (15.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 23,871 (13.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $55,980
- County with the most children in poverty: Cumberland County (381 children, 15.9% of children in this county)

Child Poverty in Maine has been steadily decreasing since 2014. Cumberland County is the most populous in Maine and also has the highest number of children living in poverty.

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likeaduck // Flickr

#43. Delaware

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 35,291 (17.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 11,176 (21.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 23,452 (16% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $64,085
- County with the most children in poverty: New Castle County (18,557 children, 15.6% of children in this county)

Similar to Maine and a handful of other states, Delaware’s most populated county is also the county with the most children living in poverty. There are roughly 66,000 children receiving food stamps and 104,777 kids enrolled in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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Nick Fox // Shutterstock

#42. Montana

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 35,323 (15.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 11,864 (19.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 22,472 (14% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $53,262
- County with the most children in poverty: Yellowstone County (4,591 children, 12.6% of children in this county)

Child poverty rates and the rate of children uninsured have both decreased in the state of Montana. The Montana Food Bank credits low-income assistance programs for the decrease in poverty rates. Some examples of assistance programs are Montana School Breakfast and Lunch Program, Montana Special Milk Program, and Montana Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

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Phillip B. Espinasse // Shutterstock

#41. Hawaii

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 35,572 (11.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 11,596 (13.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 22,463 (10.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $77,936
- County with the most children in poverty: Honolulu County (20,432 children, 9.9% of children in this county)

The Center on the Family in Hawaii reports that children are the most vulnerable age group. Also, children living with a single-parent household are about 10 times more likely to live in poverty than children with two parents.

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Will Hart // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Rhode Island

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 37,091 (18.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 10,766 (20.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 25,638 (17.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $62,923
- County with the most children in poverty: Providence County (28,944 children, 22.4% of children in this county)

The 2019 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook reports that in the past five years, roughly 64% of all children in the state live in only four cities. Those four cities are Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket. Providence also happens to be the county with the most children living in poverty.

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Pat Hawks // Flickr

#39. Nebraska

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 63,981 (13.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 19,275 (14.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 42,235 (12.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $59,913
- County with the most children in poverty: Douglas County (2,378 children, 2.7% of children in this county)

Douglas County is Nebraska’s most populated county. According to the United Health Foundation, Nebraska has a high percentage of high school graduates and a high immunization coverage among children. Yet, a little less than 14% of all children under the age of 18 are living in poverty.

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Charles Knowles // Shutterstock

#38. Idaho

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 64,896 (14.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 20,008 (17.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 42,957 (13.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $52,280
- County with the most children in poverty: Ada County (11,542 children, 10.6% of children in this county)

Spotlight on Poverty reports that 1,518 children are currently in foster care, and 13.2% of the population is food insecure. Both are factors interrelated with child poverty. 24.4% of children under the age of 18 are living in poverty and there are about 95,000 kids receiving food stamps in the state.

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David T. Stephenson // Shutterstock

#37. West Virginia

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 87,601 (24.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 27,396 (28.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 58,443 (22.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $43,238
- County with the most children in poverty: Kanawha County (8,994 children, 25% of children in this county)

West Virginia News reported that the state’s poverty rate has not decreased since 2007. The state’s child poverty rate also increased as well in the last year.

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JoshWest.com // Flickr

#36. Iowa

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 90,246 (12.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 29,970 (15.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 56,921 (10.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $58,706
- County with the most children in poverty: Polk County (1,523 children, 33.4% of children in this county)

In October 2019, KWWL News in Iowa reported that Senator Cory Booker returned to the state to discuss his plan for reducing child poverty. Senator Booker said creating a child allowance which would give families $300 a month per child in the household, growing the food stamps program, and even creating “baby bonds” would help reduce child poverty.

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JJBers // Flickr

#35. Connecticut

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 95,569 (13% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 25,638 (14.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 67,750 (12.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $74,428
- County with the most children in poverty: Hartford County (28,488 children, 15.3% of children in this county)

The Hartford Courant reported that Connecticut’s child poverty rates have increased over the last three decades. And, unfortunately, like many other states across the nation, Black and Latino children are the most affected.

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Garrett // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Utah

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 96,881 (10.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 30,591 (12.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 62,631 (9.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $68,395
- County with the most children in poverty: Salt Lake County (33,337 children, 10.8% of children in this county)

Spotlight on Poverty reports that there are a significant number of families receiving child care subsidies (6,400). But, overall, Utah has a lower child poverty rate than the national average, which is around 17%.

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America's Power //Flickr

#33. Kansas

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 102,858 (14.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 31,443 (16.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 67,873 (13.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $56,382
- County with the most children in poverty: Sedgwick County (112 children, 23.5% of children in this county)

Sedgwick County is the second-most-populated county in Kansas but fares as the worst for child poverty. According to KAKE, an ABC affiliate in Kansas, the state is also facing a shortage of foster care parents.

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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#32. New Mexico

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 124,045 (25.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 35,257 (28.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 86,767 (24.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $47,086
- County with the most children in poverty: Bernalillo County (27,385 children, 18.7% of children in this county)

Over one in four children in New Mexico lives in Poverty, per New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions. And, the percent of single-parent families who live below the national poverty line is 45%.

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IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#31. Nevada

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 129,102 (19.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 38,686 (21.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 87,307 (17.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $57,932
- County with the most children in poverty: Clark County (1,079 children, 25.9% of children in this county)

The child poverty rate has decreased in Nevada. But the disparity between white children and black children living in poverty is very significant. In fact, only 3% of white children live in concentrated poverty while 16% of Black and 16% of Latino children are living in concentrated poverty, according to the Nevada Currant. 

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f11photo // Shutterstock

#30. Oregon

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 141,083 (16.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 42,628 (18.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 92,236 (14.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $60,123
- County with the most children in poverty: Multnomah County (26,217 children, 17.3% of children in this county)

According to the Salem Reporter, the number of children living in poverty in Oregon and graduation rates have been improving. Teen pregnancy, something that can be correlated with lack of health-care access and education, has also seen decreased rates—half of what they were in 2008.

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photo.ua// Wikimedia Commons

#29. Minnesota

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 149,218 (11.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 43,319 (12.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 99,614 (10.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $68,364
- County with the most children in poverty: Hennepin County (37,144 children, 13.7% of children in this county)

The Minnesota Post published an article earlier this year holding legislators accountable for the promises they made 12 years ago to end poverty in Minnesota. However, overall, there are less children in poverty from 2016 to 2017. When broken down by race, everyone saw a decrease in the number of children in poverty except for black children. In that case, the number of children living in poverty went from 79,000 to 83,000 from 2016 to 2017.

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Bridget Calip // Shutterstock

#28. Colorado

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 151,899 (12.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 44,196 (13.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 103,485 (11.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $69,113
- County with the most children in poverty: Denver County (23,913 children, 17.4% of children in this county)

In 2016, 13% of children lived in poverty. Child poverty is on the decline, but the number of kids under the age of 18 living in poverty is still over 150,000. Since then, 43 of the 64 counties in Colorado experienced a poverty rate higher than the state average.

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Bruce W. Stracener // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Arkansas

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 155,878 (22.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 46,339 (24.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 106,559 (21.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $45,916
- County with the most children in poverty: Pulaski County (18,380 children, 20.3% of children in this county)

Economic research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reports trends in poverty among children between ages five to 17 in Pulaski County. There was a notable increase from 2005 to 2007, and this county still has the most children in poverty in Arkansas. But, between 2016 and 2017 at least, there was a decrease from 64,780 to 64,115 children living in poverty.

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Jose L. Stephens // Shutterstock

#26. Maryland

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 165,365 (12.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 48,728 (13.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 112,037 (11.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $80,711
- County with the most children in poverty: Baltimore City (39,518 children, 31.8% of children in this county)

In March 2019, the Baltimore Sun reported that the school poverty rate in Baltimore City was miscalculated around the time when the city stopped accepting lunch applications—which had been historically used to determine poverty and evaluate those who needed food stamps. Evidently, child hunger and poverty are linked as we’ve seen with other states.

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Marcio Jose Bastos Silva // Shutterstock

#25. Massachusetts

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 182,461 (13.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 51,167 (14.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 126,029 (12.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $77,385
- County with the most children in poverty: Suffolk County (33,024 children, 25.1% of children in this county)

Roughly 268,000 children receive food stamps in Massachusetts. The general child poverty rate is about 13% and there are over 200,000 Black and Hispanic children living below 200% poverty level.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#24. Wisconsin

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 183,445 (14.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 52,307 (16% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 124,586 (13.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $59,300
- County with the most children in poverty: Milwaukee County (58,284 children, 26% of children in this county)

Interestingly, the Institute for Research on Poverty run by the University of Wisconsin reports slightly different numbers than the U.S. Census. They developed the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM), which reported that in 2017 about 10% of children in the state were living in poverty.

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NatalieMaynor // Flickr

#23. Mississippi

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 194,336 (27.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 52,336 (28.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 139,482 (27% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $43,595
- County with the most children in poverty: Hinds County (16,503 children, 28.6% of children in this county)

Hinds County is the most populous county in Mississippi but also has the highest number of children living in poverty. And according to the World Population Review, 38.73% of the people in Mississippi have less than a high school education. In 2018, The Advocate reported that Mississippi doesn’t have enough education funding. Education access is a factor that can be correlated to child poverty.

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Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Oklahoma

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 200,447 (21.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 59,699 (23.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 136,937 (20.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $50,051
- County with the most children in poverty: Oklahoma County (45,281 children, 22.8% of children in this county)

In 2017, more than one in five children in Oklahoma lived in families with a total household income below the national poverty according to OKPolicy.org. Health insurance is also a big concern for the children in Oklahoma. In fact, 8.1% of the children in the state are uninsured.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#21. Kentucky

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 218,734 (22.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 66,607 (24.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 146,838 (20.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $48,332
- County with the most children in poverty: Jefferson County (34,345 children, 23.1% of children in this county)

Ninety-three out of 120 counties in Kentucky have improved their child poverty rate in the last year, according to the Kentucky Youth Advocates’ Kids County Data Book. The organization holds an annual Children’s Advocacy Day to elevate the voices of children and urge legislators to take action.

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cpaulfell // Shutterstock

#20. Washington

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 230,007 (14.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 65,010 (14.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 155,568 (13.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $70,942
- County with the most children in poverty: King County (20 children, 24.4% of children in this county)

The Children’s Alliance of Washington State focuses on policy and its impact on children—namely, crediting the Trump Administration for putting immense strain on families who can’t negotiate between fulfilling a child’s needs and maintaining legal status. Their solution to reducing child poverty in that lens is to fight against public charge, which is a label that deems someone as dependent on the government and serves as a cause for dismissal in the approval of immigration cases.

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Khanrak // Wikimedia Commons

#19. South Carolina

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 242,819 (22.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 69,188 (24.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 169,622 (21.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $50,675
- County with the most children in poverty: Greenville County (20,247 children, 17.5% of children in this county)

The Children’s Trust of South Carolina is an organization that provides resources for bettering child welfare and prioritizes prevention training to combat child poverty and abuse. For example, they work with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to create and support the Child Well-Being Coalition, which focuses on how improving community, health, and education can make a larger difference in children’s lives.

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Sam valadi // Flickr

#18. Missouri

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 249,829 (18.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 74,279 (20.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 168,099 (17.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $53,506
- County with the most children in poverty: Jackson County (2,514 children, 23.3% of children in this county)

Roughly 250,000 children currently live in poverty in Missouri, per the News Tribune. While the Missouri Community Action Network reports that 4% of children born into poor families turn out to be high-earning members of the family, 43% of children born into poverty remain there into adulthood.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#17. Virginia

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 258,038 (14% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 73,601 (14.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 177,741 (13.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $71,518
- County with the most children in poverty: Fairfax County (23,007 children, 8.6% of children in this county)

Virginia has a particularly higher household income compared to other states, but it doesn’t correlate to a lower child poverty rate. One contributing problem is the low minimum wage which aligns with the national average but still ranks lower than the minimum wages of other states. According to Children’s Defense Fund, increasing the minimum wage would reduce child poverty by 8.3%.

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Rob Hainer // Shutterstock

#16. Alabama

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 262,909 (24.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 78,986 (27.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 180,594 (22.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $48,193
- County with the most children in poverty: Jefferson County (34,345 children, 23.1% of children in this county)

Alabama doesn’t have paid family leave and ranks as the sixth-poorest state in the U.S. And the state has a food insecurity rate of 22.5% among children, as reported by Jezebel. Jefferson County is Alabama’s most populated county and also has the highest number of children living in poverty.

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#15. New Jersey

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 270,713 (13.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 77,659 (15.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 189,048 (13.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $80,106
- County with the most children in poverty: Essex County (23,023 children, 13.9% of children in this county)

Advocates for Children of New Jersey is an organization that fights for systematic change that will benefit children, such as by working with local government. ACNJ reported that in 2018, Governor Phil Murphy passed a bill that requires schools with a high population of students eligible for reduced-price meals to provide breakfast. Child poverty and hunger can be interlinked, so local programs such as ACNJ work to combat those issues.

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#14. Indiana

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 274,117 (17.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 83,000 (20.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 182,455 (16.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $54,134
- County with the most children in poverty: Marion County (1,686 children, 27.5% of children in this county)

Indiana’s unemployment rate is about 3.2% and has been steadily decreasing for the past few years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, Indiana still has roughly 300,000 children living in poverty. According to the Indiana Youth Institute, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced goals to improve the state’s infant mortality rate by improving and prioritizing living conditions for Indiana’s children.

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#13. Louisiana

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 303,024 (27.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 95,740 (31.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 203,606 (26% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $46,283
- County with the most children in poverty: Orleans Parish (30,363 children, 38.9% of children in this county)

Per the United Health Foundation, Louisiana’s child poverty rate has remained relatively unchanged for the past five years. And according to data from the Center for American Progress, 17.3% of households were food insecure from 2015 to 2017.

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#12. Tennessee

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 313,432 (21.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 94,225 (23.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 213,912 (19.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $51,319
- County with the most children in poverty: Shelby County (4,547 children, 9.1% of children in this county)

Historically, this poverty rate of 21.1% among children in Tennessee has declined. Tennessee continues to see high graduation rates—with 90% of public high school students completing their degrees. Still, nearly one in eight children in Tennessee lives in poverty today, per a report by the Annie E. Cassie Foundation.

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#11. Arizona

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 336,150 (21% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 99,130 (23.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 230,386 (19.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $56,508
- County with the most children in poverty: Maricopa County (196,107 children, 19.1% of children in this county)

The 2017 Poverty Snapshot in Arizona, produced by the Coalition on Human Needs, reports that 63.4% of poor families had at least one person working. But despite employment, food accessibility and affordability was still a problem. Specifically, 13.1% of households in Arizona couldn’t afford enough food.

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#10. Michigan

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 416,305 (19.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 130,222 (23.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 275,411 (17.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $54,840
- County with the most children in poverty: Wayne County (2,177 children, 30.1% of children in this county)

Michigan’s poverty rate has reportedly dropped over the last five years. However, the state still ranks as one of the top-10 worst states in total numbers. According to Michigan League for Public Policy, about one in five children lives in poverty, and 23% of children live in families whose parents are employed but struggle with low incomes.

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#9. Pennsylvania

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 443,665 (16.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 134,116 (19.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 300,068 (15.7% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $59,165
- County with the most children in poverty: Philadelphia County (108,051 children, 31.9% of children in this county)

According to the Community Action Association of Pennsylvania, children are more likely to live in poverty than any other group. Roughly 17% of all children under the age of 18 lived in poverty in 2017. Furthermore, the rate for African-American or Latino children is triple that of non-hispanic white children.

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#8. North Carolina

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 476,438 (21% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 140,316 (23.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 326,389 (19.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $52,797
- County with the most children in poverty: Mecklenburg County (42,725 children, 16.8% of children in this county)

NC Child, a nonprofit advocacy group, reports that more than 11% of North Carolina’s children live in impoverished neighborhoods. NC Child suggests three working solutions that could help reduce the long-term effects of growing up in poverty: Ending discriminatory policies, expanding workforce training, and expanding Medicaid.

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#7. Illinois

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 485,816 (17% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 142,481 (18.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 333,818 (16% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $63,044
- County with the most children in poverty: Cook County (1,372 children, 31.7% of children in this county)

Cook County is the second-most-populous county in the United States, with 5,180,493 people. Heartland Alliance’s poverty report lists 67 of Illinois’ 102 counties on its watch list, and 14 counties are on the “severe watch list.”

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Chris Gent // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Ohio

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 507,119 (19.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 155,522 (22.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 339,888 (18.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $54,077
- County with the most children in poverty: Cuyahoga County (69,607 children, 27.1% of children in this county)

Similar to national trends, the poverty rate for minority children is higher than others. According to the Ohio Poverty Report, released in February 2019, the poverty rate for minority children is 16–25% higher than children not in the minority.

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Reinhard Kraasch // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Georgia

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 532,013 (21.5% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 153,380 (23.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 370,142 (20.3% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $56,117
- County with the most children in poverty: Fulton County (711 children, 28.9% of children in this county)

Roughly 21% of children in Georgia live in poverty. That rate has decreased by about 6% over the past five years. But Georgia still has the fifth-largest number of children in poverty. The minimum wage in Georgia is $5.15, which is $2.10 lower than the federal wage. Plus, 162,772 people under the age of 18 went uninsured in 2016, per the State of America’s Children in Georgia.

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#4. New York

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 812,336 (19.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 240,184 (21.2% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 554,556 (18.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $64,783
- County with the most children in poverty: Kings County (9,951 children, 24.5% of children in this county)

The New York Times’ Andrew Stein wrote in 1986, “Almost 40 percent of [New York City’s] children… live in families with incomes below the poverty line.” Today, that percentage is 23.8. Similar to other states, New York also tracks poverty rate outside of the national rank. The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity produces the NYC Opportunity 2018 Poverty Report, which shows different thresholds for cost of standard living depending on race, family size, among others.

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#3. Florida

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 850,924 (20.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 244,308 (22% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 589,055 (19.6% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $52,582
- County with the most children in poverty: Miami-Dade County (121,165 children, 22% of children in this county)

The Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit organization that aims to “initiate system change for Florida’s children and families.” One of the contributing factors for child poverty, per the organization, is the juvenile justice system, which can severely hinder the development of those who are incarcerated—particularly people of color. The organization advocates for the increased use of civil citations rather than arrests (for non-violent crimes) so that people can rehabilitate and pursue an education.

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f11photo // Shutterstock

#2. Texas

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 1.53 million (21% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 454,312 (22.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 1.05 million (19.9% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $59,195
- County with the most children in poverty: Harris County (827 children, 11.5% of children in this county)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported that employment in Texas went up 3.4% in July 2019. However Texas still ranks as having the second-worst child poverty rate. In 2016, there were over 7 million children living in Texas, per the Center for Public Policy Priorities. And of those children, the poverty rates among Latino and black children (33% and 32% respectively) are almost three times higher than they are for white and Asian children (11% and 12% respectively).

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#1. California

- Children ages 0 to 17 in poverty: 1.62 million (18.1% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 0 to 4 in poverty: 453,522 (18.8% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Children ages 5 to 17 in poverty: 1.12 million (17.4% of all children in this age range in the state)
- Median household income: $71,785
- County with the most children in poverty: Los Angeles County (457,665 children, 20.9% of children in this county)

In 2013, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) and the Stanford University Center on Poverty and Inequality created the California Poverty Measure (CPM) to go beyond the official poverty index. CPM includes measures of social welfare, like cost of living and access to food and education, in addition to income inequality. Despite California’s rank, the CPM shows that the child poverty rate actually decreased from 21.3% to 19.3% from 2016 to 2017. PPIC credits this to social welfare programs like Earned Income Tax Credits and a food assistance program, CalFresh.

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