Children in poverty 2005-2018 in Maine

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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 2018 in the United States for children ages 0 -17 is 18.0%, down from 18.4% in the previous year using SAIPE 1-year data.

The poverty rate for children in Maine in 2018 is 14.8% , a steep decline from 2012 when it was 19.8% and from 2016 when it was 16.7%, but up slightly from 2017 when it was 14.2%. However, given the confidence interval of these estimates, the 2018 Maine child poverty rate could be between 13.8% to 15.8%, so the rate is essentially the same in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 child poverty rate in Maine was the lowest percent and number since 2005. However, Maine's child poverty rate in 2018 is still higher than all of the other New England states except Rhode Island.

In terms of Maine counties, in 2018 both Cumberland and York Counties had poverty rates below 11%. The county with next lowest percentage of children in poverty was Sagadahoc at 13%.
None of the other 13 counties had rates below the state average rate of 14.8%.
In 2018, six counties had child poverty rates above 20%: Washington County at 26.8%, Oxford at 26.3%, Piscataquis at 23.8%, Somerset at 21.1%, Franklin at 20.4% and Waldo at 20.2%.

Comparing 2016, 2017, 2018, there were 3 counties that improved each of the three years, these were Cumberland, York and Somerset.  The county with the largest 1 year improvement from 2017 to 2018 was Cumberland, improving from 9.2% to 8.0%. By contrast, Oxford County had the largest increase in child poverty from 2017 to 2018, going from 20.2% to 26.3%. 

As far as child poverty trends between 2013 and 2018, Maine went from 18.2% to 14.8% or a reduction of 19%.   Only Oxford County did not improve in child poverty rates between 2013 and 2017. In 2013, Oxford County had a child poverty rate of 20.8% and its rate was 26.3% in 2018.

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Data Provided By

Definitions: The estimated number and percent of children ages 0-17 living in poverty for the 1 year period noted. Beginning in 2005, these estimates are modeled from combined census estimates, and other administrative and and economic data.

Data Source: All estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau, SAIPE County 1-year estimates.

Footnotes: Note that this data is from Small Area Income & Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) for 1 year periods and not from American Community Survey (ACS) for 5-year periods.

Uploaded December 2019.