U.S. Child Poverty Drops More than 80% Since 1993

The child poverty rate was 27.9% in 1993, but fell to a record low of 5.2% in 2021, according to new census data. The child poverty rate has decreased in every state, and it has fallen by about the same amount for Black kids, White kids, Hispanic kids, Asian kids, immigrants, and kids in one- or two-parent households. “Fewer children growing up in poverty is good for the future,” says Renee Ryberg, a co-author of a new report from Child Trends that digs into the data. “It’s as simple as that.” Lower child poverty rates not only mean immediate improvements to the well-being of kids and families but there are also long-term benefits for society, like lower rates of crime, lower health care costs, and more tax revenue. Pandemic-era expanded government benefits, from stimulus checks to an expanded child tax credit, were major drivers in reducing child poverty in 2020 and 2021. Academics and advocates have raised concerns that some of those additional gains may be erased now that the expanded child tax credit has expired, however, many of the driving factors behind the drop in child poverty—lower unemployment, a rise in single mothers’ participation in the workplace and expansions of the safety net—are longer term.