Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Report: 17.5% of U.S. children live in poverty :

September 13, 2018

About 17.5% of children lived in poverty last year, relatively unchanged from the year before, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The reports come as the Academy urges Congress not to cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which protect families from food insecurity.

Among all ages, the poverty rate last year was 12.3%, which declined for the third straight year, according to the Census Bureau. A family with two adults and two children was living in poverty if its annual income was below $24,858.

Children fare worse than adults. About 17.5% of children lived in poverty compared to 11.2% of people ages 18-64 and 9.2% of those 65 and older.

Racial disparities also persist. About 21.2% of people who are black, 18.3% of those who are Hispanic, 10% of those who are Asian and 8.7% of those who are white lived in poverty last year.

Addressing poverty is a top priority for the Academy. The AAP policy Poverty and Child Health in the United States calls for improving access to early childhood education and increasing parents’ income by strengthening programs like the earned income tax credit, SNAP, housing subsidies and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

Congress is in the midst of negotiating reauthorization of SNAP, which serves about one in four children. The Academy is participating in a National Day of Action today to urge support for the Senate’s version of the funding legislation. Members can learn more at

The Census Bureau also released new data this week on health insurance coverage showing about 5.4% of children were uninsured last year, which did not change from the year before.

The Academy has been deeply involved in advocating for the extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nearly 9 million children. Earlier this year, Congress reauthorized the program through 2027.

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal