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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Columbia’s National Center for Children in Poverty Reports Four out of Every 10 American Children Live in Low-income Families

Four out of every 10 American children live in low-income families, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), a research center based at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. This finding from the 2015 edition of the center’s Basic Facts about Low-Income Children fact sheet series underscores the magnitude of the problem of family economic insecurity and child poverty in the United States.  Analyzing the latest available U.S. Census data, NCCP researchers found that 44 percent of children under age 18 lived in low-income families in 2013, and 22 percent lived in poor families.  Low-income families are defined as those with incomes less than two times the Federal Poverty Threshold (about $47,000 for a family of four with two children) and poor families are defined as those with incomes below the threshold (about $24,000 for a family of four with two children).

“Far too many American children live in economically insecure families, and this serious threat to our nation’s future does not get the attention it deserves,” said NCCP Director Dr. Renée Wilson-Simmons, DrPH.  “NCCP’s Basic Facts about Low-Income Children provides essential data to raise awareness about our most vulnerable children.”

Published annually since 2009, Basic Facts about Low-Income Children offers demographic and socioeconomic profiles of poor and low-income children in different age groups, from infants and toddlers to adolescents.  Fact sheet data are widely cited by policymakers, researchers, advocates, and the media as authoritative.

Other notable findings from the 2015 edition of Basic Facts about Low-Income Children:

Read the report here.