October 14, 2019

Encouraging Numbers for Young Adults and Poverty

In 2018, 21% of 18- to 24-year-olds were living in poverty across the country, according to the latest information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, which is available in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Center.

While this statistic remained unchanged from 2017, it represents progress since 2010 when the share of young adults living in poverty peaked at 26% and remained at that rate until 2013 when it started to drop.

The percentage of youth and young adults living in poverty dropped below pre-recession levels but is still higher than the 20% of 18- to 24-year-olds fit this statistic in 2002.

Despite the encouraging movement nationally, 14 states and the District of Columbia saw their poverty rate for youth and young adults rise from 2017 to 2018 and more than half of all U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico reported rates in excess of the national average (21%). Youth and young adults from West Virginia were most likely to live in poverty (31% did in 2018), but rates climbed even higher for 18- to 24-year-olds in the District of Columbia (34%) and Puerto Rico (47%).

By comparison, youth and young adults in Hawaii and New Jersey were the least likely to live in poverty — just 12% did in 2018.

Persons ages 18 to 24 living in poverty by state >