Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Fourteenth Report to Congress. Measuring Economic Well-Being


To assess the social impacts of any change in dependence, changes in the level of poverty should be considered.  This report focuses on the official poverty rate, the most common poverty measure. Additional measures of poverty and need also are included under the Economic Risk Factors found in Chapter III.

Figure SUM 2a.  Number Poor under 18 Years of Age & Poverty Rate, 1959–2013

Number Poor under 18 Years of Age & Poverty Rate, 1959–2013

Source:  U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-249 and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2013/index.html.

As shown in Figure Sum 2a, the child poverty rate for all persons under 18 is 19.9 percent in 2013 (see Table ECON 1 for further details).  This is down from the recent peak of 22.0 percent in 2010, just after the end of the Great Recession.  Earlier historical trends in child poverty rates also generally have followed similar patterns to broader economic expansions and contractions.

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