Report Roundup: Child Poverty in the States: Levels and Trends from 1979 to 1998

October 1, 2000

Most U.S. states saw a drop in child poverty during the 1990s, but these gains have not offset the increases in U.S. child poverty since 1979, according to NCCP’s study that divides long-term child poverty into two periods, 1979-1993 and 1993-1998. Based on Census data, the study looks at child poverty in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, showing great variation between them.

In 38 states and the District of Columbia, the 1979-93 trend toward higher child poverty was partially reversed by 1993-98 decreases. The overall U.S. child poverty rate increased from 16.2 percent to 22.5 percent from 1979-93, then decreased to 18.7 percent (more than 13 million children) in 1998. The authors conclude that although the nation saw significant drops in child poverty during the period of strong economic growth, it is unclear whether the decrease was due to structural improvements in the economy, changes in welfare improvements in the economy, changes in welfare reform or stages of the nation’s business cycle. In an earlier study, NCCP found that family structure, parental education, parental employment and immigration all provide “an important but far from exhaustive” explanation for changes in child poverty rates. Future reports will study possible remedies.

Six pages. $5 for a paper copy; free online. National Center for Children in Poverty, The Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 154 Haven Ave., New York, NY 10032. (212) 304-7100. http://cpmc-net.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/main10.html.


"Child Poverty in the States: Levels and Trends from 1979 to 1998." Report Roundup. Youth Today, October 2000, p. 44.

©2000 Youth Today. Reprinted with permission from Youth Today. All rights reserved.

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