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Child Poverty

Definition:
Percent of children under 18 whose family income is equal to or below the federal poverty threshold.

National and State Percentages of Children Under 18 Living in Poverty
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
MD 10.9% 10.1% 10.6% 10.4% 11.8% 13.1% 13.9% 14.1% 13.9% 13.8%
US 18.5% 18.3% 18.0% 18.2% 20.0% 21.6% 22.5% 22.6% 22.2% 21.7%

Data Source: Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates.

Story Behind the Data:

In 2014, Maryland’s child poverty rate decreased slightly for the second consecutive year, reaching 13.8%. While Maryland’s child poverty rate remains above the annual rates prior to the recession, Maryland is significantly below the national rate of 21.7%. The two Maryland jurisdictions with the highest child poverty rates in 2014 were Somerset County and Baltimore City, with rates of 32.6% and 32.2% respectively. However, both jurisdictions saw a decline in their rates from 2013. Several Maryland jurisdictions had rates below 10%, including Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard, and Montgomery Counties.

While Maryland’s child poverty rate is well below the national average, it is important to note that the federal poverty measure does not account for cost of living differences from one location to another.  Several of Maryland’s jurisdictions, 17 of 24, have a cost of living higher than the national average.  As a result, Maryland has sought to raise the eligibility threshold for certain benefits, including the Food Supplement Program, where many Maryland families at or below 185% of the federal poverty level are able to receive food assistance.  In addition, Maryland expanded Medicaid coverage for a number of populations up to 133% of the poverty level.

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