Children and adults in poverty by age group

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Why This Indicator Matters

Delaware should be a place where a child's beginnings, however humble, do not limit lie's paths. Poverty is the single greatest threat to children's well-being. Low-income children suffer a disproportionate share of deprivation, hardship and negative outcomes. The risks are greatest for children who experiences poverty when they are younger and for those who live in deep and/or persistent poverty. Not only does this group of children have access to fewer material foods than upper or middle class children, but they are also more likely to experience poor health and die during childhood, in addition to being more likely to end up poor as adults. In school, children in poverty score lower on standardized tests and are more likely to be retained in grade or to drop out. Low-income teens are more likely to have out-of-wedlock births and experience violent crime. Fewer children in poverty will mean increased positive outcomes such as more children entering school ready to learn, better child health, less strain on hospitals and public health systems, less stress on the juvenile justice system and a decrease in child hunger and malnutrition.
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Children ages 0-5 and 6-18 and adults ages 18+  in poverty, three year average.

The poverty measure was established in 1964 based on research indicating that families spent about one-third of their income on food. A family is officially classified as poor if its cash income (wages, pensions, social security benefits and all other forms of cash income) falls below the federal poverty threshold. While the thresholds are updated each year for inflation, the measure is widely acknowledged to be outdated because in today's society, food comprises a much lower percentage of an average family's expenses than it did in the sixties, while the costs of housing, child care, health care and transportation have increased substantially. May research organizations have concluded that the official poverty measure in an antiquated standard that is no longer capable of capturing true economic need or determining whether working families earn enough to get by.

Data Source: Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research, University of Delaware

Footnotes: *Some Delaware indicators are presented as three- or five- year averages because rates based on small numbers of events in this modestly-populated state can vary dramatically from year to year. A three- or five- year average is less susceptible to distortion. In these cases, it is helpful to look at trends rather than at actual numbers, rates or percentages due to the small numbers.