Nearly 40% of Black Children Live in Poverty

Nearly 40% of Black Children Live in Poverty

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A new study paints a sad picture of what life is like for many black children. While the overall number of children living in poverty declined to 20%, or 14.7 million in 2013 from 2010, for black children, the number held steady during that time period at 38%, making them 4 times as likely as white or Asian children to be living in poverty during that period.

The data comes from a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. The study defines poverty as living in a household with annual income below $23,624.

“Poverty is a function of income, and for many black Americans, the unemployment rate is higher than that of Hispanic, white, or Asian workers,” Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center, tells BE.

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“The data reveals a lot of straightforward facts, but facts that are tied to the economic challenges the country continues to face. Unemployment rates have not declined for everybody at the same rate, and different wealth levels remain a constant theme,” he adds.


Pew says that this may be the first time the number of impoverished white children, 4.1 million, dipped below the number of impoverished black children since the census began collecting data in 1974. To put that into context, however, there are currently more than 3 times as many white children as black children living in the U.S.

Researchers attribute much of the difference to varying employment and income levels among the different groups.

In terms of raw numbers, there are more Hispanic children living in poverty than any other group, 5.4 million. Pew says that’s because the Hispanic population is larger and younger than any other minority, racial, or ethnic group in the country.