U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Children in Poverty

In 2006, nearly 13 million children under 18 years of age lived in households with incomes below the poverty threshold ($20,614 for a family of 4 in 2006); this represents 17.4 percent of all children in the United States.

Poverty affects many aspects of a child’s life, including living conditions, access to health care, and adequate nutrition, all of which contribute to health status. Black and Hispanic children are particularly vulnerable to poverty. In 2006, 33.4 percent of Black children and 26.9 percent of Hispanic children lived in households with incomes below the poverty threshold, compared to 10.0 percent of non-Hispanic White children. Over the past two decades, the percentage of children in poverty has dropped noticeably among the Black population, while it has remained relatively constant among Whites.

Single-parent families are also particularly vulnerable to poverty: of children living in households with incomes below 100 percent of the poverty threshold in 2006, 59.6 percent lived in a female-headed household. However, children living in a female-headed household made up only 24.1 percent of the overall child population. Overall, 42.0 percent of children living with a female householder and 20.3 percent of children living with a male householder were living in poverty in 2006 (data not shown).

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