Based on recently released poverty figures from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the KIDS COUNT analysis found that there were 14.7 million children in households with incomes below the poverty threshold in the United States in 2009 — 1.6 million more than in 2007, before the current recession began.
The analysis, which for the first time broke down child poverty rates by congressional district, also found wide variation in child poverty rates across districts nationwide. Of the country's 435 congressional districts, those with the highest 2009 child poverty rates were New York's District 16 (49 percent) and Texas's District 15 (45 percent), while those with the lowest rates were New Jersey's District 11 (3 percent) and Pennsylvania's District 8 (3 percent).
"These numbers should be a major wakeup call," said Laura Beavers, national KIDS COUNT coordinator at the Casey Foundation. "The economic success of America's children and families, now more than ever, depends on the financial stability of the communities they live in. The Casey Foundation believes that kids do well when their parents do well, and parents do well when their communities thrive. Our future shared prosperity is endangered if we do not protect our current safety net and extend emergency measures like jobless benefits, housing assistance, and other tax credits."