Children in poverty 2005-2016

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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 2016 in the United States for children ages 0 -17 is 19.5%. The poverty rate for children in Maine in 2016 is 16.7% which is the lowest since 2008. At 41,228, it is also the lowest total number since 2005.  However, Maine ranks last among the 6 New England states for poverty among children and 24th overall 50 states.

In terms of Maine counties, in 2016 both Cumberland and York Counties had poverty rates of 11.3%. The three counties with the highest poverty rates had rates of 27% -30% of children living in poverty.
These counties were Piscataquis, Washington, and Somerset Counties.  Looking at trends since 2012, Somerset County dropped to over 30% in 2016, after not being higher than 27% any previous year since 2005.  Hancock County, Waldo County & Cumberland County, on the other hand, have all seen improvements in the child poverty rate every year since 2012.

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