October 23, 2018

Poverty Across America Falls Back to Prerecession Rate

During the Great Recession, the nation’s poverty rate hit 16% — and stubbornly held there — from 2011 to 2014. In recent years, however, this rate has dropped and continues to move in the right direction.

Case in Point: In 2017, 43 million people were living in poverty. This figure represents 13% of the total population, which mirrors the nation’s prerecession poverty rate.

The proportion of kids and young adults living in poverty has historically exceeded the national rate. For instance, 18% of kids (ages 0 to 17) and 21% of young adults (ages 18 to 24) were living in poverty in 2017. For both age groups, these rates have fallen since peaking in 2011 and 2012, and they are now on par with prerecession levels.

Policies like the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Affordable Care Act and child care assistance have helped drive poverty rates down. As a result, people young and old have more resources to address their daily food, shelter and health needs.

Explore more poverty data on the KIDS COUNT Data Center.