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Cindy Stork of the Oakland Head Start in Garret County, Maryland, greets her students.
Photo: Kainaz Amaria
Most states saw an increase in the percentage of rural children living in poverty during the first years of this century, according to a report issued by University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute.
In 2000, 19 percent of children living in rural counties lived in poverty. By 2006, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau, 22 percent of rural children lived in families that had incomes that placed them in poverty. Texas has the most children living in poverty, Connecticut the fewest.
Nationally, the overall poverty rate for all Americans decreased between 2005 and 2006, the first time that’s happened this decade.
Mississippi had the highest percentage of rural children living in poverty — more than a third of those under 18 years of age living outside metropolitan regions. Five states — Ohio, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee, and South Carolina — showed increases of five percentage points or more in rural child poverty rate between 2000 and 2006.
In all there was an increase in the percentage of rural children living in poverty in 37 of 47 states. (There are no officially rural counties in Rhode Island, New Jersey or Massachusetts.) Regionally, the South had the highest proportion of poor rural children, but the greatest percentage increase in poor rural kids was in the Midwest.
Demographers track the child poverty rate because it is the best single indicator of children’s well-being. The child poverty rate is closely related to delinquency, disease and emotional health.
Here are some breakdowns by states of child poverty numbers and rates, beginning with the number of rural children living in poverty by state. Following are two more charts, showing the percentage of a state’s rural population under 18 living in poverty; and a chart showing the change in the percent of kids living in poverty from 2000 to 2006.
|STATE||Total Rural Population Under age 18 Below Poverty|
|STATE||Percent of rural population under age 18 below poverty|
|STATES||Percentage Point Change in Rural Child Poverty Rate from 2000 to 2006|