More than 40 million Americans live below the poverty line – an income threshold of about $35 a day, or $1,073 a month. Among those facing such extreme financial hardship, children are disproportionately affected.
The United States has one of the worst rates of child poverty among wealthy, developed countries – and nearly 12.6 million children and youth under the age of 18 live in households whose incomes are at the threshold of poverty. Not only are children more exposed to the risk of poverty, but they are also particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of poverty, both in the short term and in the long term.
Childhood poverty can negatively impact brain development and has been linked to a greater likelihood of chronic disease, shorter life expectancy, and poor emotional and behavioral health. Those who spend part or all of their childhood in poverty are also less likely to do well in school or be financially secure later in life.
Nationally, an estimated 17.5% of children under 18 live below the poverty line. However, this share varies from place to place, and in some parts of the country child poverty is much more common than average. Using data from the US Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the zip code of each state with the highest poverty rate.
Among the places on this list, the child poverty rate ranges from about 26% to over 80% and exceeds the overall statewide child poverty rate in all cases. Here is an overview of the income a family needs to cover normal living expenses in each state.
Many of these postcodes are located in or near a major city. Cities such as Baltimore, Cleveland, and Milwaukee are each home to the ZIP code with the highest levels of child poverty in the state.
Children raised in single-mother households are much more likely to live in poverty than those in two-adult households, and in most ZIP codes on this list, the share of households headed by single mothers exceeds the share comparable statewide.
Families in these ZIP codes are also more likely to rely on government assistance for basic necessities than families in much of the state. The share of households with children receiving SNAP benefits, or food stamps, exceeds the statewide share in every zip code on this list. Here’s a look at the cities with the most people on food stamps.
Click here to see the zip code for each state with the highest child poverty rate
Click here to read our detailed methodology