The average wealth of White households in 2011 ($110,500) was 14 times that of Hispanic households
($7,683), and 17 times that of Black households ($6,314).
Overview of The State of America’s Children 2014
The U.S. is reaching a tipping point in racial and ethnic diversity.
• For the first time the majority of children in America under age 2 were children of color in 2012 as were
the majority of all children in 10 states — Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland,
Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas — and the District of Columbia. By 2019, the majority
of all children nationwide are expected to be children of color.
• Over one-third of children of color under 2 were poor in 2012 during years of rapid brain development.
Child poverty has reached record levels.
• One in 5 children — 16.1 million — was poor in 2012.
• More than 7.1 million children — over 40 percent of poor children — lived in extreme poverty at less than
half the poverty level. For a family of four this means $11,746 a year, $979 a month, $226 a week and
$32 a day or $8 a person.
• The youngest most vulnerable children were the poorest age group. Over 1 in 4 children under age 5 —
nearly 5 million — were poor. Almost half of them — 2.4 million — were extremely poor.
Children of color are disproportionately poor.
• Nearly 1 in 3 children of color — 11.2 million children — was poor and more than 1 in 3 children of
color under age 5 — 3.5 million — were poor.
• Black children were the poorest (39.6 percent) followed by American Indian/Native Alaskan children
(36.8 percent) and Hispanic children (33.7 percent).
• In six states — Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin — half or more Black
children were poor and nearly half the states had Black child poverty rates of 40 percent or more.
• The largest group of poor children was Hispanic children (5.8 million) followed by White children
(5.2 million) and Black children (4.1 million).
Children in single-parent families and Southern families are at greatest risk of poverty.
• Children in single-parent families were nearly four times more likely to be poor than children in married couple families in 2012. Although almost 70 percent of all children lived with two parents in 2013,
more than half of Black children and nearly 1 in 3 Hispanic children lived with only one parent compared
to 1 in 5 White children.
• The South had the highest child poverty rate with 1 in 4 Southern children poor compared to 1 in 5 in
the rest of the country.
• Child poverty rates were highest in cities (29.1 percent) followed by rural areas and small towns
(26.7 percent) but nearly 2 in 5 poor children lived in suburbs.
Child poverty creates unacceptable child homelessness and hunger.
• Nearly 1.2 million public school students were homeless in 2011-2012, 73 percent more than before
• More than 1 in 9 children lacked access to adequate food in 2012, a rate 23 percent higher than before
• In an average month in FY2011, 1.2 million households with children had no cash income and depended
only on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to stave off hunger.
The State of America’s Children® 2014 • 5
O v e r v i e w
• Black and Hispanic households with children were more than twice as likely as White households to lack
access to adequate food in 2012.
• Eighty-nine percent of children who relied on free or reduced-price lunch during the school year did not
receive meals through the Summer Food Service Program in 2012.
Government safety nets lifted millions of children out of poverty.
• Government safety net programs lifted 9 million children from poverty in 2012 including 5.3 million
children through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit and 2.2 million
• Child poverty would have been 57 percent higher in 2012 without government tax credits and food,
housing, and energy benefits. Extreme child poverty would have been 240 percent higher.
Income and wealth inequalities are shockingly high.
• The top 1 percent of earners received 22.5 percent of the nation’s income in 2012, more than double
their share in 1964 and equal to levels last seen in the 1920s.
• The average wealth of White households in 2011 ($110,500) was 14 times that of Hispanic households
($7,683), and 17 times that of Black households ($6,314).
Working families are struggling.
• Employment does not guarantee an above-poverty income: more than two-thirds of poor children lived
in families where one or more family member worked.
• In no state could an individual working full-time at the minimum wage afford the fair market rent
for a two-bedroom rental unit and have had enough for food, utilities and other necessities in 2013.
A person would have needed to work more than two-and-a-half full-time minimum-wage jobs to afford
a two-bedroom fair market rental.
Lack of investments deprives children of critical supports in the early years.
• Less than half of 3- and 4-year olds were enrolled in preschool in 2009-2011.
• Early Head Start funding served only 4 percent of the 2.9 million eligible poor infants and toddlers
on any given day in FY2012 and Head Start funding served only 41 percent of the 2 million eligible
poor 3- and 4-year olds.
The nation’s schools fail to prepare millions of children in greatest need.
• Nearly 60 percent of all fourth and eighth grade public school students and more than 80 percent of
Black and almost 75 percent of Hispanic children in these grades could not read or compute at grade
level in 2013.
• Only 78 percent of students graduated from public high school in four years in 2010. That rate was 66
percent for Black students, 69 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students and 71 percent for
• Over half a million public school students dropped out of grades 9-12 during the 2009-2010 school year.
This will cost taxpayers in the future billions of dollars a year in added benefits and services and foregone
income tax revenue.
• In only 11 states and the District of Columbia are school districts required by law to offer full-day
kindergarten to all eligible students, although 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted
Common Core State Standards that assume districts are offering a full day of kindergarten.
• Alaska was the only state in the nation to equitably fund education by spending 40 percent more for
each student in its poorest school districts than its richest in 2007-2008, the most recent year of data.
Thirteen states spent more on students in their richest districts than their poorest districts.
Ninety-five percent of all children now have access to health coverage although access does
not ensure they will be enrolled.
• The percent of uninsured children in America has decreased 40 percent since 1997 thanks to Medicaid
and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provided health coverage to 44 million
children under 19 (57 percent of all children) in FY2012.
• The unjust lottery of geography left more than 7.2 million children under 19 uninsured in 2012: 1 in 7
Hispanic children, 1 in 11 Black children and 1 in 15 White children. Nearly 70 percent of them were
eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but not enrolled.
• Forty percent of children who needed mental health services did not receive them in 2011-2012.
• Family health care costs pushed more than 2 million children into poverty in 2012.
Many vulnerable children need treatment, services and permanent families.
• A child is abused or neglected every 47 seconds. Infants and toddlers are most likely to be victims of
abuse and neglect.
• Nearly 40 percent of children who are abused or neglected receive no post-investigation services and many
more receive far fewer services than they need.
• In 2012, 101,719 children in foster care were waiting to be adopted. More than 23,000 youth aged
out of foster care at 18 or older without being returned home, adopted or placed with a permanent
• 4,028 children are arrested each day — one every 21 seconds and 1,790 children are serving sentences
in adult prisons.
Guns kill or injure a child or teen every half hour.
• In 2010, 2,694 children and teens were killed by guns and 15,576 were injured by guns. Guns killed
more infants, toddlers and preschoolers than law enforcement officers in the line of duty.
• U.S. children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from gun violence than their peers in 25 other
• Since 1963, three times as many children and teens have died from guns on American soil than U.S.
soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
• Gun violence disproportionately affects children of color. In 2010, Black children and teens were nearly
five times and Hispanic children and teens were more than three times more likely to be killed by guns
than White children and teens.
• United States military and law enforcement agencies possess 4 million guns. U.S. civilians have 310 million.
Every year American companies manufacture enough bullets to fire 31 rounds into every one of our