Children under 18 in poverty

Change Indicator


Definitions: The number and percent of children under age 18 who live in families with income below the poverty threshold (100% Federal Poverty Guideline) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Data Source: The U.S. Census Bureau's Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE). Data were retrieved on June 22, 2016 from

*Please use these estimates with caution. The total confidence interval (upper bound minus lower bound) of the percent estimate, is 10 percentage points or greater, which indicates that this estimate has a large margin of error. This generally occurs when estimate relies on small number of cases. To obtain total confidence interval values around the estimates for this indicator please contact Washington KIDS COUNT.

Footnotes: Data last updated in June 2016 by Washington KIDS COUNT.

The poverty rates available in SAIPE are model-based county estimates. Technical notes on the modeling can be found at

SAIPE defines poverty status by family; either everyone in the family is in poverty or no one in the family is in poverty. The characteristics of the family used to determine the poverty threshold are: number of people, number of related children under 18, and whether or not the primary householder is over age 65. Family income is then compared to the poverty threshold; if that family's income is below that threshold, the family is in poverty.

Beginning with the estimates for 2005, data from the American Community Survey (ACS) were used in the estimation procedure; all prior years used data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplements of the Current Population Survey. Due to this difference, the SAIPE data from 2005 is not comparable to earlier SAIPE data. Beginning in January 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded the ACS sample to 3 million households (full implementation), and in January 2006 the ACS included group quarters. Because of the addition of group quarters in 2006, estimates between 2005 and later years are not fully comparable for certain age groups across 2005 and 2006. Generally residents of group quarters have higher poverty rates than residents of households, and this affects the comparison.

The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In 2014, the poverty threshold for a family of two adults and two children was $24,008. Poverty status is not determined for people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 15 (such as foster children).