Monday, October 31, 2011

Mapping Poverty: A New Tool

The release of the new poverty data by the Census Bureau in September – confirmed what we already feared – that poverty has continued to rise over the past several years. In 2010 more than 16 million children in the United States –22 percent of all children – lived in families with incomes below the federal poverty level (which was about $22,300 a year for a family of four). Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Research also shows that living in poverty has a significant impact on immediate and long-term outcomes for families. According to Child Trends, poor children are more likely to have low academic achievement, drop out of school, and to have health, behavioral, and emotional problems. Furthermore, these linkages are particularly strong for children whose families experience deep poverty, who are poor during early childhood, and/or who are trapped in poverty for a long time.

The impact of poverty on children, families and communities is significant. However public policy aimed at supporting low-income working families, high quality early care and learning experiences and addressing families in greatest need all can help reduce poverty and mitigate its impact.

Half in Ten, recently released interactive tools that allow for users to map poverty by state and by Congressional District. The maps include data on the total population as well as demographic data including women, children, and racial/ethnic groups (where available).

For policymakers, working to support children and families living in poverty in their states is critical – to ensure a thriving population today – and in the future.

For more strategies to Ensure Children Grow Up in Safe, Supportive and Economically Successful Families visit