Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How School-Age Child Poverty in Every County Compares with Prerecession Levels

      According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today, the poverty rate for school-age children had no statistical change in 2,199 counties between 2007 and 2013 while 928 counties experienced an increase and 15 showed a decline.
      The statistics are from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program, which provides the only up-to-date, single-year income and poverty statistics for all counties and school districts — roughly 3,140 counties and nearly 14,000 school districts nationally. Data from the American Community Survey are an important input to these estimates.
      “County school-age child poverty rates are still above their prerecession levels in metropolitan areas of California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, as well as the coastal areas of the Northeast and Great Lakes states,” said Wesley Basel of the Census Bureau’s Small Area Estimates Branch. “State and local programs use these statistics for distributing funds and managing school programs.”

      The findings show there were large concentrations in the South and West of the 972 counties with poverty rates statistically above the national average of 20.8 percent for school-age children. For example, in New Mexico and Mississippi, more than 80 percent of counties had poverty rates statistically greater than the national rate. Across the nation, 15 percent of school districts had poverty rates greater than 30 percent for school-age children.
      Conversely, 902 counties had poverty rates for school-age children that were statistically lower than the national rate. In five states, 80 percent of counties had rates lower than the national rate: Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
      The official poverty statistics for the nation were released in the fall showing a decline in thepoverty rate for children under age 18 from the previous year for the first time since 2000.
      Of the 40 counties with median household income estimated to be statistically higher than $80,000, more than two-thirds were in the northeast corridor of metropolitan areas stretching from Boston to Washington, D.C. Estimated median household income among these higher-income counties ranged to nearly $120,000. The U.S. median household income was $51,939.
About the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates
      The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program provides statistics on the total number of people in poverty, the number of children younger than age 5 in poverty (for states only), the number of children ages 5 to 17 in families in poverty, the number younger than age 18 in poverty and median household income. At the school district level, estimates are available for the total population, the number of children ages 5 to 17 and the number of children ages 5 to 17 in families in poverty.
      This release includes publication of 2013 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE): An Overview, which presents income and poverty trends and explains the sources and approach. Also available is an interactive data and mapping tool, allowing access to statistics for every county and school district by selecting the geographic area. More information can be obtained from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates main page.
      The estimates combine the latest data from the American Community Survey with aggregate data from federal tax records, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, decennial censuses and the Population Estimates Program.
      Statistics from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program are an input to the allocation formula for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which observes its 50th anniversary in April 2015. Title I distributes funding to school districts based on the number and percentage of low-income children. The U.S. Department of Education will use the 2013 estimates to allocate fiscal year 2015 funds for Title I and other Department of Education programs to states and school districts for use primarily in the 2015-2016 school year.

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