Children Living in Poverty
What does this measure?
The number of children under 18 living below the federally defined poverty line, expressed as a percentage of all children under 18. Poverty thresholds vary by family composition and year. In 2014, the threshold for a four-person family with two children was $24,008.
Why is this important?
Children raised in impoverished environments are at higher risk for a wide variety of health and social problems, including poor performance in school. The challenges they face in childhood can diminish their chances for successful adult lives.
How is our county doing?
In 2010-14, over 27,000 children in Essex County were living in poverty, or about 16% of all children under 18. This was up from 12% in 2000 and similar rate to the state (15%) but below the national rate of 22%.
Within Essex County, the cities of Lawrence (39%) and Lynn (31%) had the highest child poverty rates in 2010-14. Both cities had increases since 2000 of 7 percentage points in Lawrence and 8 points in Lynn.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County's rate in 2010-14 was higher than each of the comparison counties: Lake, IL (13%), Westchester, NY (12%) and Middlesex, MA (9%). Essex County had the biggest increase since 2000 except for a 6-point increase in Lake.
Notes about the data
Poverty status is not reported for people in institutions, including college dormitories and military barracks, and people in living situations without conventional housing.
The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined 5 years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with 3 asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.