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Children in Poverty 2017-11-21T15:52:39+00:00

Children in Poverty

Kentucky’s future prosperity depends on all children living in a financially stable family where parents can provide for their children, yet children are much more likely to be poor than working-age adults and the elderly.[i] In 2015, a family of two adults and two children was considered to be living in poverty if their household income was at or below $24,036.

Growing up in a financially stable family allows children to avoid the threats caused by poverty to their physical and mental health, social-emotional development, and educational attainment, such as the increased risks of teen pregnancy and not finishing high school.[ii] For example, children who are poor for half their childhoods are 90 percent more likely not to complete high school than non-poor children.[iii] The long-term consequences of childhood poverty include lower occupational status, lower wages, and poorer health in adulthood.[iv]

Kentucky’s child poverty rate has been persistently higher than the national rate. While slightly less than one in every five children nationally live in poverty, at least one in every four Kentucky children are poor.[v]  We know it is possible to reduce Kentucky’s high rate of childhood poverty, as the state’s rate consistently fell between 1995 and 2000.[vi]

[i] Jiang, Y., Granja, M.R., and Koball, H. (2017). Basic Facts about Low-Income Children: Children under 18 Years, 2015. National Center for Children in Poverty. Available at Accessed November 2017.

[ii] Ratcliffe, C. and McKernan, SM. (2012). Child Poverty and Its Lasting Consequence. The Urban Institute. Available at Accessed November 2017.

[iii] Fiester, L. (2013). Early Warning Confirmed: A Research Update on Third-Grade Reading. Annie E. Casey Foundation. Available at Accessed November 2017.

[iv] Child Trends Databank (2016). Children in Poverty. Available at Accessed November 2017.

[v] Annie E. Casey Foundation (2017). KIDS COUNT Data Center. Available at,573,869,36,868/any/321,322. Accessed November 2017.

[vi] Kentucky Youth Advocates (2015). Good Public Policies = A Brighter Future for Kentucky Kids: A 25 Year Retrospective. Available at Accessed November 2017.