Children in poverty by county, 2005 —2020 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 2020 in the United States for children ages 0 -17 is 15.7%, down from 18.0% in 2018. The poverty rate for children in Maine in 2020 is 12.8%, a steep decline from 2012 when it was 19.8% and two percentage points lower than 2018 when it was 14.8%.  The 2020 child poverty rate in Maine was the lowest percent and number since 2005. However, Maine's child poverty rate in 2020 is still higher than all of the other New England states except Rhode Island.

In terms of Maine counties, in 2020 both Cumberland and York Counties had child poverty rates below 9%. The county with next lowest percentage of children in poverty was Sagadahoc at 10.9%.
None of the other 13 counties had child poverty rates below the state average rate of 12.8%. In 2020, only one county had child poverty rates above 20%: Piscataquis at 21.2%. Comparing 2020 to 2019, there was one county that did not improve, Androscoggin; but every other county saw a reduction in poverty rates. The county with the largest 1-year improvement from 2019 to 2020 was Washington going from 24.6% to 17.7%; while Somerset improved from 22.6% to 18.5%. 

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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.  

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 2021