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Poverty rate for black children holds steady, bucking down trend of others

Some 38 percent of African-American kids live in poverty, nearly four times the rate of white peers

While the poverty rate among white, Latino and Asian-American children in the United States has declined in recent years, it has held steady for black children, a new analysis of U.S. Census data released on Tuesday shows.

Some 38 percent of black children were living in poverty in 2013, a rate that has remained the same since 2010, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. Since children make up about 27 percent of the African-American population but account for 38.4 percent of poor black people, it appears that young people are disproportionately affected.

But poverty rates among children of all other races have dropped over the same period. Twenty percent of American children — or 14.7 million altogether — were living in poverty in 2013, down from 22 percent in 2010.

In fact, black children were four times as likely as white or Asian children to be living in poverty as the U.S. emerged from the Great Recession, data indicates. For the first time since 1974, when the U.S. Census Bureau began gathering race and income data, the number of poor black children eclipsed the number of poor white children in 2013 — 4.2 million versus 4.1 million — though Pew stressed that this difference was not statistically significant.

Poverty is defined by the Census Bureau as having an annual household income below $23,624 for a family of four.

Latino children still make up the largest group of poor U.S. children, with 5.4 million of them living below the poverty line in 2013, according to the study. While children make up 33 percent of the U.S. Latino population, they were 42 percent of poor Latinos in 2013, meaning they are also disproportionately poor.

“By contrast, children make up roughly equal shares of the white and Asian populations and of whites and Asians living in poverty,” the report said.

Child Poverty Rate

Number of Poor Children

* Note: Children are younger than 18. Whites include only non-Hispanics. Blacks and Asians include both the Hispanic and non-Hispanic components of their populations. Hispanics are of any race. In 2001 and earlier, respondents were only allowed to report one race group, and Asians include Pacific Islanders. From 2002-2013, respondents could choose more than one race; whites, blacks and Asians include only the single-race components of their populations in these years. Data for Asian groups not available between 1976 to 1986.

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