150 Years after the End of the Civil War, Black Children are still more than Three Times as Likely to Live in Poverty as White Children

Thursday, July 16, 2015
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Black children in the United States stand a much higher risk of living in poverty than white children, according to a new study based on federal data.


The numbers reveal how much of an economic disadvantage African-Americans still face in America a century and a half since the Civil War.


As of 2013, the poverty rate for black children stood at 38%, the Pew Research Center reported after analyzing Census Bureau statistics (pdf). These children were more than three times as likely as white and Asian children to live in poverty, Pew researchers determined.


The numbers showed that the poverty levels for white, Asian and Hispanic kids declined from 2010 to 2013. But the rate for black youths remained largely the same. Overall, the child poverty rate in the U.S. dipped slightly from 22% to 20% during this span.


The Pew study also reported that black and Hispanic children are overrepresented when it comes to poverty. “Children make up 27% of the black population, but 38% of blacks in poverty,” Eileen Patten and Jens Manuel Krogstad wrote at Pew. “And children account for 33% of all Hispanics, but 42% of impoverished Hispanics.


“By contrast, children make up roughly equal shares of the white and Asian populations and of whites and Asians living in poverty,” they added.


The study also pointed out that there are slightly more black children than white children in poverty, even though there are three times as many white children in the country.


Living in poverty in 2013 was defined as being in a household with an annual income below $23,624 for a family of four with two related children.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Black Child Poverty Rate Holds Steady, Even as Other Groups See Declines (by Eileen Patten and Jens Manuel Krogstad, Pew Research Center)

Black Children in U.S. Are Much More Likely to Live in Poverty, Study Finds (by Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times)

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 (by Carmen DeNavas-Walt and Bernadette D. Proctor, U.S. Census Bureau) (pdf)

Majority of Children in Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo Live in Poverty (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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