The poverty rate of school-age children remains higher than pre-recession levels in 30 percent of the country’s counties, according to data just released by the Census Bureau. The poverty rate has gone down in less than 1 percent of counties, remaining stagnant throughout the rest of the nation.


This means that 1 in 5 U.S. schoolchildren are still living in poverty. A disproportionate number are students of color. Students living at or near the poverty line experience challenges such as higher rates of absenteeism, the inability to concentrate on schoolwork, increased depression, lower academic achievement, and are at greater risk of leaving school before graduation.

Earlier this year, First Focus documented our country’s progress, and the work still to be done, on child poverty in the 50 years since the War on Poverty was declared. We paid special attention to education.

We hope this chart is seen and used as a call to action. Lawmakers have the ability to decrease child poverty and mitigate the effects of poverty on students, particularly when they focus on funding, quality, and equality.