Ohio’s Child Poverty Rate Falls, but 1 in 5 Children Still Poor

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 15, 2016

For More Information Contact:

Dawn Wallace-Pascoe
dwallacepascoe@childrensdefense.org
(614) 221-2244

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

COLUMBUS - The U.S. Census Bureau data released this week reveal that 550,270 or 1 in 5 children lived in poverty in Ohio in 2015, a decrease of 43,561 children since 2014. The child poverty rate fell from 22.9 percent in 2014 to 21.3 percent in 2015. Poverty is defined as an annual household income below $24,257 for a family of four.

Other key findings from the data release include:

  • Ohio’s child poverty rate ranks 33rd compared to other states (with a rank of one having the lowest rate of child poverty).  
  • 10.3 percent of children in Ohio are in extreme poverty. Extreme poverty is defined as an annual household income of less than $12,129 for a family of four. Ohio ranks 38th.
  • Children under age 6 are poor at even higher rates than all children. In Ohio, 25.4 percent of children under age 6 are poor (rank 37th), and 12.8 percent are in extreme poverty (rank 42nd).  

Ohio’s Black, Hispanic, and children of two or more races are considered poor at much higher rates than White, Asian, or American Indian/Alaska Native children. Ohio ranks in the bottom half of states for all White, Black, Hispanic, and children of two or more races:  

Ohio Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 2015

 Race/Ethnicity

 Under 18 Percent

 Ohio's Rank

 Under Age 6 Percent

 Ohio's Rank

 White

 14.7

 35

 17.9

 43

 Black

 46.9

 40

 52.7

 43

 Hispanic

 34.1

 35

 38.1

 36

 AI/AN*

 30.1

 25

 21.7

 6

 Asian

 11.0

 20

 14.9

 29

 2 or More Races

 32.7

 47

 37.7

 47

*American Indian/Alaska Native

Nationally, child poverty declined from 21.1 percent in 2014 to 19.7 percent in 2015, although there are still more children in poverty than before the recession began in 2007. One in five children – 14.5 million – were poor in 2015, and children remain the poorest age group in the country. Child poverty rates declined for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian children. 

The U.S. Census also released data on health insurance coverage. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), 4.4 percent of Ohio children age 0-17 were uninsured in 2015.  More than 11,000 children gained coverage from 2014 to 2015.

“We welcome the news that child poverty rates declined in 2015 and that fewer children are uninsured,” says Renuka Mayadev, Executive Director at the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. “The data show that our youngest Ohio children, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are still struggling in the aftermath of the recession. One in four of our under 6 population – who are in the most critical time of brain development – are poor. And over half of our Black children in this age group are poor placing Ohio at a rank of 43 out of 50. We must do more to support families with our youngest children.” CDF-Ohio supports investing in early childhood education and nutrition, expanding tax cuts to working families, and preventing cuts to programs like Medicaid or nutrition assistance that lift children out of poverty.

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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.

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