Children in poverty (100 percent poverty) in Illinois

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Why This Indicator Matters

Growing up poor has wide-ranging and long-lasting repercussions.

Poverty elevates a child’s risk of experiencing behavioral, social and emotional and health challenges. Child poverty also reduces skill-building opportunities and academic outcomes, undercutting a young student’s capacity to learn, graduate high school and more.

What is the rate of child poverty in the U.S.?

Currently, 18% of all children in the United States — nearly 13 million kids total — are living in poverty. A family of four with annual earnings below $25,465 is considered poor. In the last decade, this rate the percentage of U.S. children in poverty has risen from 18% in 2007 and 2008, peaked at 23% in 2011 and 2012, and returned to 18% in 2017 and 2018.

This indicator is included in the KIDS COUNT Index. Read the KIDS COUNT Data Book to learn more about child poverty levels.

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Definitions: Child poverty refers to the share of children under age 18 who live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In calendar year 2018, a family of two adults and two children fell in the “poverty” category if their annual income fell below $25,465. Poverty status is not determined for people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 15 (such as foster children).  The data are based on income received in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Data Source: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, 2001 Supplementary Survey, 2002 through 2018 American Community Survey.

These data were derived from ACS table B17001.


The data for this measure come from the 2000 and 2001 Supplementary Survey and the 2002 through 2018 American Community Survey (ACS). The 2000 through 2004 ACS surveyed approximately 700,000 households monthly during each calendar year. In general but particularly for these years, use caution when interpreting estimates for less populous states or indicators representing small sub-populations, where the sample size is relatively small. Beginning in January 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded the ACS sample to 3 million households (full implementation), and in January 2006 the ACS included group quarters. The ACS, fully implemented, is designed to provide annually updated social, economic, and housing data for states and communities. (Such local-area data have traditionally been collected once every ten years in the long form of the decennial census.)

Footnotes:

  • Updated September 2019.
  • S: Estimates suppressed when the confidence interval around the percentage is greater than or equal to 10 percentage points.
  • N.A.: Data not available.
  • Data are provided for the 50 most populous cities according to the most recent Census counts. Cities for which data are collected may change over time.
  • Use caution when comparing congressional districts over time. Congressional district boundaries may change between decennial censuses. Annual data for each congressional district refers to the boundaries for that district in that year.
  • A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at
Children in poverty (100 percent poverty).