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1 FACT SHEET Basic Facts about Low-Income Children Children under 9 Years, 2016 January 2018 Heather Koball | Yang Jiang Among all children under 18 years in the U.S., 41 percent live in low- Contents: income families and 19 percent—approximately one in five—are poor. Trends 1. This means that children are overrepresented among our nation’s poor; 2. Federal poverty threshold (FPT) they represent 23 percent of the population but comprise 32 percent of 3. Low-income children by: all people in poverty. Many more children live in families with incomes ◆ ◆ Age group 1 just above the poverty threshold. ◆ ◆ Race/ethnicity ◆ ◆ Parents’ nativity Young children—those under age 9 years—appear to be particularly Family characteristics 4. ◆ Parents’ employment ◆ vulnerable, with 44 percent living in low-income families, including 21 ◆ Parents’ education ◆ percent living in poor families. Being a child in a low-income or poor ◆ Family structure ◆ family does not happen by chance. Parental education and employment, ◆ ◆ Region race/ethnicity, and other factors are associated with children’s experience Residential instability ◆ ◆ of economic insecurity. This fact sheet describes the demographic, Energy & housing insecurity ◆ ◆ socioeconomic, and geographic characteristics of young children and 5. Preschool enrollment 6. Health insurance coverage their parents. It highlights important factors that appear to distinguish 7. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance low-income and poor young children from their less disadvantaged Program (SNAP) counterparts. 8. Endnotes 215 W. 125th Street, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10027-4426 Ph. 646-284-9651 www.nccp.org

2 How many young children under age 9 years live in low- What is the 2016 federal income families in the United States? 2 poverty threshold (FPT)? There are more than 15 million children under age 9 years who live in low- $24,339 for a family of four ◆ ◆ income families in the United States. with two children $19,318 for a family of three ◆ ◆ Figure 1: Young children by family income, 2016 with one child 23 + 21 + 56 z + ◆ $16,543 for a family of two ◆ + 23 56+ 21 + x with one child Is a poverty-level income Poor 21% enough to support a family? Above Research suggests that, on average, low income Low income 56% families need an income equal to Note: Above low income is 44% about two times the federal poverty defined as at or above 200% of the federal poverty threshold threshold to meet their most basic Near poor (FPT), poor is defined as below 3 needs. Families with incomes 23% 100% of FPT, and near poor is below this level are referred to as between 100% and 199% of the low income: FPT. The low-income category includes both the poor and the ◆ ◆ $48,678 for a family of four near poor. Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding. with two children $38,636 for a family of three ◆ ◆ with one child ◆ ◆ $33,086 for a family of two Has the percentage of young children living in low-income with one child and poor families changed over time? These dollar amounts approximate the average minimum income The percentage of low-income young children (both poor and near poor) families need to make ends meet, decreased from 48 percent in 2010 to 44 percent in 2016, and has decreased but actual expenses vary greatly from a high of 49 percent in 2012 (Figure 2). by locality. In 2014, the cost of meeting basic needs for a family Young children living in low-income and poor families, 2010–2016 Figure 2: of four required about $85,800 per year in Boston, Massachusetts; Percent (%) $61,500 in Akron, Ohio; $57,200 in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and $53,600 4 in McAllen, Texas. Near poor 100–200% FPL Poor 50% - 100% FPL Deep poverty Less than 50% FPL 2 | National Center for Children in Poverty

3 Between 2010 and 2016, the overall Table 1: Number of young children living in low-income and poor families, number of young children (children 2010–2016 under age 9) decreased from 36.4 2010 2016 million to 35.4 million. The number of low-income, young children decreased 15,399,930 17,397,604 Low income from 17.4 million to 15.4 million, 9,111,181 Poor 7,405,464 the number of poor, young children decreased from 9.1 million to 7.4 Deep Poverty 3,327,234 4,514,966 million, and the number of young children living in deep poverty, defined as less than 50 percent of the federal poverty threshold, decreased from 4.5 Figure 3: Family income by age, 2016 million to 3.3 million (Table 1). Above low income Near poor Poor How does the poverty status of young children compare to 9% 13% 19% 21% Low income Low income Low income Low income 19% 16% 28% 44% 41% 29% the rest of the population? 22% 23% The percentage of young children 72% 71% in low-income families surpasses 57% 59% that of adults. In addition, young children are more than twice as likely as adults 65 years and older to live in poor families (Figure 3). Less than age 18 Ages 65+ Ages 18 to 64 Under age 9 Figure 4: Percentage of young children in low-income and poor families by age, Does the percentage of 2016 young children in low-income Percent (%) Low income Deep poverty Poor families vary by age group? 50 The percentage of poor, deep poor, or low-income young children is 44% 43% 43% 40 5.0 mil relatively stable when comparing 5.3 mil 5.1 mil across age groups (Figure 4). 30 20 21% 21% 21% 2.5 mil 2.4 mil 2.4 mil 10 10% 9% 9% 1.1 mil 1.1 mil 1.1 mil 0 Under 3 Ages 3-5 Ages 6-8 www.nccp.org | 3

4 Does the percentage of young children in low-income families vary by race/ethnicity? Race/ethnicity among young children by family income, 2016 Figure 5: As Figure 5 illustrates, the percentages of low-income and poor Percent (%) 100 young children varies by race and Non-Hispanic White 35% 30% 50% ethnicity. Hispanics comprise the Non-Hispanic Black largest share of young children living 80 Hispanic in low-income families (36 percent) Asian and of poor children in this age 23% 60 5 American Indian 20% group (also 36 percent). Other 13% 40 36% 36% Black, American Indian, and Hispanic 26% children are disproportionately low income and poor (Figure 6). 20 3% 5% 3% 1% 1% 1% 6% 5% 5% 0 Total Poor Low income 100 due to rounding. Percentages may not add up to Figure 6: Percentage of young children in low-income and poor families by race/ethnicity, 2016 Percent (%) Low income Poor Deep poverty 80 70 65% 64% 60 61% 50 40 41% 39% 37% 30 31% 30% 28% 20 21% 19% 19% 10 13% 12% 13% 10% 6% 5% 0 Black White Other American Asian Hispanic Indian 6 Does the percentage of young children in low-income families vary by parent nativity? Children of immigrants are more likely to be low-income than children of native-born parents (Figure 7). Percentage of young children in low-income families by parent nativity, 2016 Figure 7: 41% 52% 4.6 million young children with 10.7 million young children with immigrant parents live in native-born parents live in low-income families. low-income families. 4 | National Center for Children in Poverty

5 What are the family characteristics of low-income and poor young children? 7 Parent Employment Figure 8: Percentage of young children in low-income and poor families by Young children with a full-time, parent employment and education, 2016 year-round employed parent are Percent (%) Poor Low income less likely to live in a low-income family, compared to young children 100 with parents who work part time/ part year or who are not employed 80 87% 84% (Figure 8). 73% 70% 69% 60 Nevertheless, many low-income and 54% poor young children have parents 40 47% - who work full time. About 53 per 36% 31% 31% cent of low-income children and 31 20 percent of poor children under age 9 12% 9% 31+73+87+84+69+31 9+47+70+54+36+12 0 - live with at least one parent em Less than High school Full time, Some Part time Not ployed full time, year round. degree college or year round or employed high school more degree part year 8 Parent Education Higher levels of parental education decrease the likelihood that a child Parent education among young children by family income, 2016 Figure 9: will live in a low-income or poor Some college or more high school degree High school degree Less than family. Among young children with at least one parent with some college or additional education, 31 percent live in low-income families and 12 49% 40% percent live in poor families. By contrast, among children in this age 33% group whose parents have less than 31% a high school degree, 84 percent live in low-income and 54 percent live in 26% 20% poor families (Figure 8). At the same time, significant shares Poor Low income of low-income and poor families with young children are headed by parents Percentage of young children in low-income and poor families by Figure 10: with at least some college education, family structure, 2016 as shown in Figure 9. Children residing Children residing Children residing Family Structure with both parents with a single parent with other relatives Fifty-eight percent of young children in low-income families—8.8 million—and 51 percent of young children in poor families—3.7 million—live with two parents. Children who live with two parents are much less likely to be poor or low income compared to children 20% 48% 48% 76% 35% 15% who live with one parent or neither poor low income poor poor low income low income parent (Figure 10). www.nccp.org | 5

6 Does the percentage of young children in low-income families vary by where they live? Region The percentage of low-income young children varies substantially by region (Figure 11). Figure 11: Percentage of young children in low-income families by region, 2016 Northeast 2.1 million Midwest West 37% 3.1 million 3.7 million 42% 43% DC South 6.5 million 48% 6 | National Center for Children in Poverty

7 Residential Instability and Home Ownership 9 However, young children living Research suggests that stable housing is important for healthy child development. in low-income families are more likely than other young children to have moved in the past year and to live in families who rent, rather than own, their homes (Figure 12). Residential instability and home ownership by family income, families with young children, 2016 Figure 12: Moved within one year Rent housing 69% 26% 21% 15% Low income Above low income 10 Energy and Housing Insecurity A much larger percent of low-income children experience energy and housing insecurity (Figure 13). Housing and energy insecurity means that their families have difficulty paying these expenses each month, leading to additional 10 stress in the family. Figure 13: Housing and energy insecurity by family income, families with young children, 2016 Above low income Low income 48% 34% 6% 1% Housing Insecurity Energy Insecurity www.nccp.org | 7

8 Preschool enrollment by family income, 2016 Figure 14: Does preschool enrollment vary by family income for very young children? Very young children (ages 3-4) in low-income families are less likely to attend preschool compared to children in higher income families 54% 11 41% (Figure 14). What proportion of low- Low income Above low income income children are covered by health insurance? Figure 15: Type of health insurance coverage among young children by family income, 2010 & 2016 Among children under age 9, 5 percent of low-income children Public insurance Private insurance No insurance and 5 percent of poor children Percent (%) 12 are uninsured. Public insurance 100 programs cover 43 percent of young 9% 9% 21% 19% 53% 53% children, a slight increase since 2010 82% 86% 76% 80 (Figure 15). They reach many more 70% economically disadvantaged young children than private plans, covering 60 76 percent of low-income young children and 86 percent of poor 40 43% 40% young children. 20 What proportion of children 9% 9% 7% 5% 4% 4% in low-income families 0 2016 2010 2010 2016 2016 2010 receive support from the All children Poor children Low-income children Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)? Figure 16: Low-income young children who receive support from the Among low-income children under Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, 2016 age 9, more than half (52 percent) receive SNAP benefits (Figure 16). This percentage is slightly higher than the 51 percent of young children who received SNAP benefits in 2010, but represents a significant decline from the 55 percent of young children who received SNAP benefits in 2012 and 52% 69% 2013. Low income Poor 8 | National Center for Children in Poverty

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10 Endnotes This fact sheet is part of the National Center for of Public Health. Retrieved December 2017 education level of the most highly educated from parent(s) living in the household. Parents Children in Poverty’s demographic fact sheet http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_825. html series and is updated annually. Unless otherwise can either have no high school degree, a high . school degree but no college, or some college noted, analysis of the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) was conducted by Yang Jiang. 4. Estimates from the Economic Policy or more. Estimates include children living in families with Institute’s Family Budget Calculator. Homeless Children and http://www. Retrieved November 2016 from at least one parent and children living apart from 9. Aratani, Y. (2009). epi.org/resources/budget/ . Youth: Causes and Consequences . New York, both parents. For children who do not live with NY: National Center for Children in Poverty, at least one parent (for example, children being raised by grandparents), parental characteristics Columbia University, Mailman School of 5. In the most recent ACS, parents could report are calculated based on those of the householder Public Health. Retrieved December 2017 children’s race as one or more of the following: from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/ and/or the householder’s spouse. Children “White,” “Black,” “American Indian or Alaska . living independently, living with a spouse, in Native,” or “Asian and/or Hawaiian/Pacific text_888.pdf Islander.” In a separate question, parents could the foster care system, or in group quarters, and report whether their children were of Hispanic children ages 14 years and under living with only 10. Hernández, D., Jiang, Y., Phillips, D., Carrión D., & Aratani, Y. (2016). “Housing unrelated adults, are excluded from analyses of origin. For the data reported, children whose Hardship and Energy Insecurity among Native parental characteristics. We would like to thank parent reported their race as White, Black, Renée Wilson-Simmons, NCCP Director, for Born and Immigrant Low-Income Families American Indian or Alaska Native, or Asian with Children in the United States.” Journal of and/or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and their her advice on this fact sheet and Seth Hartig for ethnicity as non-Hispanic were assigned a Children and Poverty. 22(2): 77-92. Retrieved data checks and proofreading. Special thanks to December 2017 from non-Hispanic category of their race. Children https://www.ncbi. Tatiana Brito for layout and production. Support nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5016025/pdf/ who were reported to be of more than one race for this work was provided by the Annie E. Casey were assigned as Other. Children whose parent Foundation. nihms758712.pdf identified them as Hispanic were categorized as Hispanic, regardless of their reported race. 1. United States Census Bureau, 2016 Schwartz, M., & and Wilson, E. (2008). “Who Can Afford To Live in a Home?: A look at data American Community Survey 1-Year from the 2006 American Community Survey” Estimates (2016). Poverty Status In the Past 6. The variable “native-born parents” is defined to mean that both parents in the family were Washington, DC: United States Census Bureau. 12 Months. Washington, DC: United States Retrieved December 2017 from Census Bureau. Retrieved December 2017 https://www. born in the U.S. or its territories, or born census.gov/housing/census/publications/who-can- abroad to American parent(s). The variable from https://factfinder.census.gov . In this fact sheet, poverty is defined as family income “immigrant parents” is defined to mean that . afford.pdf less than 100 percent of the federal poverty at least one parent in the family is either a U.S. citizen by naturalization or is not a citizen of 11. The most recent ACS does not differentiate threshold, as determined by the U.S. Census whether young children attend preschool or the U.S. Bureau; low income is defined as family income less than 200 percent of the poverty if they are attending Kindergarten or higher threshold; deep poverty is defined as family grades. The numbers cited above assume 7. Parent employment is defined as the that children ages 3 or 4 attending school are income less than 50 percent of the poverty employment level of the parent in the threshold. attending preschool. Some children who are 5 household who maintained the highest level years old may also be attending preschool, but of employment in the previous year. Parents 2. The U.S. Census Bureau issues the poverty can either have no employment in the previous have been excluded from the age range used year, part-year or part-time employment, or in determining the preschool statistics cited thresholds annually. Thresholds vary by family full-time, year-round employment. Part-year above. size and composition. See http://www.census. or part-time employment is defined as either gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income- 12. People can report more than one type for working less than 50 weeks in the previous poverty/historical-poverty-thresholds.html year or less than 35 hours per week. Full-time, of insurance coverage. Children who were the complete 2016 poverty thresholds. covered by both private and public insurance year-round employment is defined as working 3. Cauthen, N.K., & Fass, S. (2008). were categorized as having public insurance. Measuring at least 50 weeks in the previous year and 35 hours or more per week. . New Children not covered by private or public Income and Poverty in the United States York, NY: National Center for Children in health insurance at the time of the survey are Poverty, Columbia University, Mailman School 8. Parent education is defined as the considered uninsured. Basic Facts about Low-Income Children: Children under 18 Years, 2016 To find comparable information for all children, see SUGGESTED CITATION Koball, H., & Jiang, Y. (2018). Basic Facts about Low-Income Children: Children under 9 Years, 2016. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

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