Children in poverty in Maine

Change Indicator

Why This Indicator Matters

Poverty plays a key role in children's well-being and is related to every KIDS COUNT indicator. Children who live in poverty, especially those who live in poverty for long periods of time, are at an increased risk for poor health, cognitive, social, and educational outcomes. They are more likely to have physical, behavioral, and emotional health problems; to have difficulty in school; to become teen parents; and as adults, earn less, and have more mental and physical health issues in adulthood.

What the data shows
The poverty rate in 2017 in the United States for children ages 0 -17 is 18.4%.
The poverty rate for children in Maine in 2017 is 14.2% , a steep decline from 2012 when it was 19.8% and from 2016 when it was 16.7%. The 2017 child poverty rate is the lowest percent and number since 2005. However, Maine's child poverty rate is still higher than all of the other New England states except Rhode Island.

In terms of Maine counties, in 2017 both Cumberland and York Counties had poverty rates below 10%. The county with next lowest percentage of children in poverty was Sagadahoc at 14.0.
None of the other 13 counties had rates below the state average rate of 14.2%.
In 2017, four counties had child poverty rates above 20%: Washington County at 26.8%, Piscataquis at 23.4%, Somerset at 22% and Oxford at 20.2%.

Comparing 2017 to 2016, , the child poverty rate got better between 2016 to 2017 for every county in the state except Oxford where it stayed exactly the same at 20.2%. For one year improvements, the counties that improved the most were Piscataquis, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Waldo.
The counties with the biggest one year improvements were: Somerset, Piscataquis. Kennebec and Lincoln (in that order)

As far as trends between 2012 and 2017, Maine went from 19.8% to 14.2% or a reduction of over 5 percentage points. Only Washington County did not improve in child poverty rates between 2012 and 2017. In 2012, it was 25.8% and it was 26.8% in 2017.

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Data Provided By

Definitions: The estimated number and percent of children ages 0-17 living in poverty. Beginning in 2005, these estimates are modeled from combined census estimates, American Community Surveys, and other administrative and and economic data.

Data Source: All estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program.

Footnotes: Uploaded April 2018.