Child poverty burdening more U.S. counties
A girl visits a food pantry in Pennsylvania. One third of U.S. counties have child poverty rates above the national average.
November 29th, 2011
07:59 PM ET

Child poverty burdening more U.S. counties

More counties are showing an increase in the proportion of children living under the poverty line, according to United States Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday.

More than a fifth of all counties in the United States – 653 out of 3,142 – saw a statistically significant increase in the number of school-age children living in poverty between 2007 and 2010. Only eight counties saw a significant decrease in the same time period.

Federal guidelines generally determine a family of four to be in poverty if their before-tax earnings are less than $22,314 per year.

In a third of the nation's 3,142 counties, child poverty rates were higher than the 19.8% national average.  In Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina,  Tennessee, Texas and the District of Columbia more than a quarter of all school aged children - ages 5 to 17 - live in poverty.

When the Census Bureau broke down its data by school district, it found that almost half – 45.3% – of 54 million school-age children lived in districts with poverty rates more than 20 percent.

The numbers are used to determine how federal funds will be apportioned to local educational authorities. At the state and local level, officials use them to figure out how to fund and manage school programs.

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