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 2021, the threshold for a four-person family with two children was $27,479.
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 2017-21, about 21,700 children in Essex County were living in poverty, or 13% of all children under 18. This was up from 12% in 2000 and 3 percentage points below 2012-16. The county rate was similar to the state rate of 12% but below the national rate of 17%.
Within Essex County, the City of Lawrence (24%) had the highest child poverty rate in 2017-21, followed by Lynn at 19%. Since 2000, child poverty rates in Lawrence and Lynn have decreased 8 and 4 percentage points respectively, while Haverhill experienced an increase since 2000 of 3 points.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County's rate in 2017-21 was higher than the comparison counties of Lake, IL (10%), Westchester, NY (9%) and Middlesex, MA (8%).
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.