Child Poverty Remains High in Ohio:
Nearly 1 in 4 Children Still Poor after Recession

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 17, 2015

For More Information Contact:

Renuka Mayadev, Executive Director
(614) 221-2244  RMayadev@childrensdefense.org

Columbus, Ohio - The U.S. Census Bureau data released this week reveal that 593,831 children lived in poverty in Ohio in 2014, up from 591,328 children in 2013. The child poverty rate, 22.9%, was virtually unchanged from the previous year. Poverty is defined as an annual household income below $24,418 for a family of four.

Other key findings from the data release include:

  • Ohio’s child poverty rate ranks 36th compared to other states (with a rank of one having the lowest rate of child poverty).
  • 11.1% of children in Ohio are in extreme poverty. Extreme poverty is defined as an annual household income of less than $12,209 for a family of four. Ohio ranks 39th.
  • Children under age 6 are poor at even higher rates than all children. In Ohio, 26.9% of children under age 6 are poor (rank 38th), and 13.2% are in extreme poverty (rank 41st).

Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and children of two or more races are considered poor at much higher rates than White and Asian children. With the exception of Asian children, Ohio ranks 38th or worse on child poverty rates when broken down by race and ethnicity:

  • White children – 16.5% are in poverty in Ohio, rank 43rd
  • Black children – 48.4% are in poverty, rank 45th
  • Hispanic children – 35.4% are in poverty, rank 38th
  • Asian children – 9.8% are in poverty, rank 12th
  • American Indian/Alaska Native children – 52.3% are in poverty, rank 38th
  • Children of two or more races – 37% are in poverty, rank 47th

Nationally, child poverty declined slightly in 2014, from 21.5% in 2013 to 21.1% in 2014. While child poverty rates declined for Hispanic, White and Asian children, Black children saw an increase and continue to have the highest child poverty rate. Despite some decreases child poverty among all children remains at shamefully high levels. One in five children – 15.5 million – were poor in 2014, and children remain the poorest age group in the country.

The U.S. Census also released data on health insurance coverage. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), 4.8% of Ohio children age 0-17 were uninsured in 2014 compared to 5.3% in 2013.

“Once again, data show the stark reality that Ohio’s children—and especially children of color— continue to be left behind in the economic recovery,” says Renuka Mayadev, Executive Director at the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. “The decrease in the number of uninsured children is a bright spot and shows that together we can take action to benefit our children.”

Ending Child Poverty Now, a national report released by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) earlier this year, outlined nine policy changes that would reduce child poverty by 60%. Increasing employment, making work pay more, and ensuring children’s basic needs are met are the key to reducing child poverty. Our leaders must make permanent improvements in pro-work tax credits, increase SNAP benefits, strengthen housing subsidies, and expand child care funding for children to assure quality care and help parents work.

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The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.