End Child Poverty

Growing up poor has lifetime negative consequences, decreasing the likelihood of graduating from high school and increasing the likelihood of becoming a poor adult, suffering from poor health, and becoming involved in the criminal justice system.

Through the Ending Child Poverty Now campaign, we engage in research and policy analysis and build coalitions to advocate for policies at the local, state, and federal levels that reduce child poverty. We support state legislation and budget actions and local efforts to invest in policies and programs that increase employment and make work pay for parents and expand the social safety net to ensure children’s basic needs are met.

We also recognize the need to create policies that break the cycle of poverty by ensuring children and families have access to affordable health care, quality early learning, high-performing schools, and families and neighborhoods free from violence.

Impact of Child Poverty

Growing up poor negatively impacts the entire trajectory of a child’s life.

  • Child poverty creates gaps in cognitive skills that can be seen as early as 9 months old, and those gaps continue to widen with age. One study found that by age 4, high-income children had heard 30 million more words than poor children.
  • Extreme poverty can produce toxic stress that literally rewires a child’s brain and negatively impacts brain functioning for life.
  • Child poverty jeopardizes children’s health and their ability to learn in school. Poor children are less likely to enter school ready to learn and to graduate from high school than their non-poor peers.
  • All of these disadvantages of child poverty compound and produce lifetime negative consequences: children who grow up poor are less likely to find a well-paying job, more likely to have poor health and more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system.
  • Ultimately, child poverty fuels the intergenerational cycle of poverty as poor children are more likely to be become poor adults and parents.
  • Child poverty costs the nation an estimated $500 billion a year in lost productivity and earnings and increased health and crime costs or 3.8 percent of GDP.

To learn more about on the research on the devastating impact of child poverty, please read Chapter 1 of CDF’s report, Ending Child Poverty Now.

Statistics & Resources

Get the latest research and data on child poverty in Texas and beyond.

According to the latest U.S. Census American Community Survey data:

  • More than 1.7 million (24.6 percent) Texas children under age 18 lives in poverty, a number higher than any state except California.
  • Child poverty remains at shamefully high numbers, and higher than the national average of 1 in 5.
  • Children of color, and especially Hispanic children are disproportionately poor.
  • Of all poor children in Texas, more than 2/3 are Hispanic children, even though Hispanic children make up only about half of our total child population.
  • 33 percent of Hispanic children, 32 percent of Black children, 23 percent of American Indian children, 20 percent of children two or more races live in poverty compared with 10.6 percent of white children.
  • The total number of white children is declining while children of color continues to grow. More than 60 percent of Texas children are now children of color.

Find local data on child poverty in Texas.

National Resources

Child Poverty in America: 2014 National Fact Sheet

Child Poverty in America: 2014 State Fact Sheet

Ending Child Poverty Now Brief

State Fact Sheets

Moments in America

Each Day in America