Child Health USA 2006
Photographs of children's faces

Population Characteristics


In 2004, just over 13 million children under 18 years of age lived in households with incomes below the Federal poverty threshold ($19,307 for a family of four);1 this represents 17.8 percent of all children in the United States. Children represented over one-third of people in poverty, but only one-quarter of the population.

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. A much higher proportion of Black (33.6 percent) and Hispanic (28.9 percent) children under age 18 were poor than were their non-Hispanic White counterparts (10.5 percent).

Children in single-parent families are particularly likely to be poor: of children under age 6 living with a single mother, 52.6 percent lived in poverty, approximately five times the rate of their counterparts in married-couple families. Although they compose only 18 percent of all families in the United States, female-headed households represent about half of all families in poverty.

1 Following the Office of Management and Budget’s Statistical Policy Directive 14, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty.


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Child Health USA 2006 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Child Health USA 2006. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.