Texans at Risk of Poverty

Texas remains a tough place for many children and their families. Although the poverty rate in Texas and nationwide slightly decreased, Texas ranks 38th in the country for its high poverty rate, according to 2014 American Community Survey data released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data also reveal that poverty in Texas is strongly linked to age, gender, race and ethnicity, household type, and educational attainment. Some key facts about poverty and income from the most recent Census data:
Poverty among children continues to be higher than total Texas poverty
In 2014, 24.6 percent of Texan children lived in poverty. By comparison, 17.2 percent of Texas’ total population live in poverty, meaning kids are struggling with poverty at a higher rate than adults. Younger children also experience higher rates of poverty. Children who live in poverty are more likely to be poor as adults. Addressing child poverty can increase changes of prosperity in the future.

Texas children face elevated poverty rates, U.S. Census, American Community Survey, child poverty rates in Texas
Source: American Community Survey (ACS), the U.S. Census Bureau

When large numbers of families live in poverty, Texas can’t succeed to its full potential
The poverty rate for Latinos and African-Americans exceeds that of the Texas population, and people of color represent a large and growing share of Texans.
Differences persist in Texas in poverty rates among racial and ethnic groups, poverty by race and ethnicity in Texas, U.S. Census, American Community Survey, poverty in Texas
Source: 2014 American Community Survey (ACS), the U.S. Census Bureau

Single-mom families tend to have the fewest resources to support their families
More than one in four Texas kids lives with a single mom. Female-headed households in Texas have a median annual income of $30,650, compared to two-adult households with a median annual income of $78,003. The gap in incomes leads to differences in child well-being and families’ financial stability.
Educational attainment plays a powerful role in lifting people out of poverty
Approximately 18 percent of adults in Texas (age 25 or older) have less than a high school education. Texans who don’t graduate from high school are three times more likely to live in poverty than someone with a high school diploma or higher education.
Many Texans who don’t technically live ‘in poverty’ still struggle to make ends meet
Remarkably, 38 percent of Texas’s population lives below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, meaning they earn an annual income less than $38,146 for a household of three.
Our new resource Key Facts about Poverty and Income in Texas can provide more information about how Texans are doing, with data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey for 2014.
By Bo La Sohn, CPPP Research and Planning Intern

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