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Half of Children Age Three And Younger Live in Poverty

Just more than half (51 percent) of American children age 3 and younger live in poverty, according to data gathered by Zero to Three, a nonprofit focused on issues facing babies and toddlers.

The percentage of children living in poverty has not changed drastically from 2012, when Zero to Three released its last big National Baby Facts report.

This year's national report is formatted as a PowerPoint presentation and gathers a number of factoids from a set of more detailed state reports. Here are some of the facts I found particularly interesting:

  • Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi produce the highest percentage (10 to 11 percent) of babies born with a low birth weight. The Dakotas and Arizona are among the 14 best-performing states where only 6 to 7 percent of babies are born with a low birth weight.
  • Sixty-two percent of infants' moms work. And though many of them are married or partnered, the high percentage of working mothers still makes this detail particularly relevant: the average cost of center-based infant care exceeds 23 percent of the median income for single parents, most of whom are women.
  • In some states, the cost of center-based infant care has risen sky-high. Single mothers making about the median income can expect to spend more than half of it on child care in Illinois, Minnesota, New York and Massachusetts. In D.C., the cost of infant care is 84 percent of the median income for single mothers.
  • Fifty-one percent of children age 3 and younger are white and 34 percent of them are in low-income families. Thirteen percent of children age 3 and younger are black, 70 percent of them are living in poverty.
  • The states with more than 30 percent of children living in poverty are: Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Ohio.

Find out how your state did, or read the 2015 presentation.

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