Percentage of persons younger than 18 years who live in households at or below the poverty threshold.



Children in Poverty: Iowa

Iowa Children in Poverty (1990-2014) see more
  • Percentage of persons younger than 18 years who live in households at or below the poverty threshold.

Children in Poverty

United States Children in Poverty (1990-2014) see more
  • Percentage of persons younger than 18 years who live in households at or below the poverty threshold.
Ranking Value State
1 9.2 Utah
2 12.1 Vermont
3 12.7 Hawaii
4 13 South Dakota
5 13.5 New Hampshire
6 14 Colorado
6 14 Minnesota
8 14.1 North Dakota
8 14.1 Wyoming
10 14.3 Iowa
10 14.3 Nebraska
12 14.5 Virginia
13 14.7 Indiana
14 15.3 Connecticut
14 15.3 Maryland
14 15.3 Massachusetts
17 15.9 Alaska
17 15.9 Washington
17 15.9 Wisconsin
20 16 Idaho
21 16.5 New Jersey
22 16.9 Ohio
22 16.9 Pennsylvania
24 17 Oregon
25 17.7 Illinois
26 17.8 Oklahoma
27 18.1 Kansas
28 18.5 South Carolina
29 19.3 Florida
30 19.5 New York
31 19.8 Michigan
31 19.8 Missouri
33 20.3 California
33 20.3 Montana
35 20.9 Maine
36 22.7 Delaware
37 23.2 Georgia
37 23.2 Rhode Island
39 23.3 West Virginia
40 23.8 Arkansas
41 24.2 Texas
42 25.3 Nevada
43 26.4 Alabama
44 26.5 Louisiana
45 26.7 Tennessee
46 26.8 North Carolina
47 27.2 Arizona
48 28.7 New Mexico
49 30.5 Mississippi
50 31.8 Kentucky


Explore the Data

Core Measure Impact Related Measures Thematic Map
Core Measure Impact
Children in Poverty
Related Measures
Children in Poverty
Thematic Map
Children in Poverty


Children in Poverty is the percentage of related persons younger than 18 years living in a household that is below the poverty threshold. The 2014 poverty threshold established by the US Census Bureau for a household of 4 people in the lower 48 states is $23,850 in household income.[1] The 2014 ranks are based on 2013 data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

The percentage of children in poverty ranges from 9.2% of persons younger than 18 years in Utah to a high of more than 30.0% in Mississippi and Kentucky. The national average is 19.9% of persons younger than 18 years, 7% less than last year’s rate of 21.3%.

The effect of poverty on health has been clearly documented with higher rates of many chronic diseases and shorter life expectancy.[2] [3] Poverty’s effect on more vulnerable populations such as children is especially great. Poverty directly influences a family’s ability to meet the basic needs of their children and limits access to health care, healthy foods, educational opportunities, and choices for physical activity. Children in poverty are roughly 3 times more likely to have unmet health needs than other children.[4] Growing up in poverty has many well documented negative health effects from birth to adulthood. Children born into poverty are more likely than other children to be low birthweight and die within the first month after birth.[5] As these children grow up they are more likely to engage in risky or unhealthy behaviors and are at a greater lifetime risk of many different health problems.[6][7] Due to the increase in poor health found in children in poverty, the estimated direct medical cost of children in poverty is $22 billion.[8] Existing government programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are designed to help alleviate some of the ill effects of poverty. In addition, there are many other government programs and community interventions that have helped to reduce the number of children in poverty, as well as the burden of poverty on children, yet poverty and its negative effect on health persist today.

Healthy People 2020 is tracking the proportion of children aged 0 to 17 years living in poverty for informational purposes.


[1] US Department of Health and Human Services. 2013 Poverty Guidelines. Accessed October 23, 2013.

[2] Fiscella K. Poverty or income inequality as predictor of mortality: longitudinal cohort study. BMJ. 314.7096 (1997):1724.

[3] Adler NE, Ostrove JM. Socioeconomic status and health: What we know and what we don't. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999;896(1):3-15.

[4] Newacheck PW, Hughes DC, Hung YY, Wong S, Stoddard JJ. The unmet health needs of America’s children. Pediatrics. 2000;105(4):989-97.

[5] Moore KA. Children in poverty: Trends, consequences and policy options. Child Trends. 2002.

[6] Lowry R. The effect of socioeconomic status on chronic disease risk behaviors among US adolescents. JAMA. 1996;276(10):792.

[7] Wood D. Effect of child and family poverty on child health in the United States. Pediatrics. 2003;112(suppl 3):707.

[8] Holzer HJ, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty. The Economic Costs of Poverty in the United States Subsequent Effects of Children Growing Up Poor. Madison, WI: Institute for Research on Poverty; 2007.