New Census Data: More than 2 Million California Children Live in Poverty

Economic recovery largely bypasses children of color; Black child poverty rate increased from 2013 to 2014

For Immediate Release
September 17, 2015

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Michele Stillwell-Parvensky

U.S. Census Bureau data released today reveal that 2.05 million California children (22.7 percent) lived in poverty in 2014. Children remain the poorest age group. Children of color continue to be disproportionately poor: 36.5 percent of Black children and 30.7 percent of Hispanic children are poor.

The child poverty rate declined slightly between 2013 and 2014, but remains higher than 2010.  Poor children of color continue to be left behind by California’s economic recovery – between 2013 and 2014, the poverty rate increased by 0.7% for Black children and declined by 3.2% for Latino children, compared with a 6.2% decline for White children.

"Child poverty is an economic and moral crisis for our state. Growing up poor has lifetime negative consequences – child poverty jeopardizes a child’s health and ability to learn and undermines their future economic success," said Alex Johnson, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California. "The number of poor children in our state should serve as an immediate call to action for policymakers across the state: California needs a bold, comprehensive plan to end child poverty. We know how to reduce child poverty – we need to public and political will to take action for our most vulnerable children."

Earlier this year, Children’s Defense Fund-California released a report, Ending Child Poverty Child: California, outlining state policy recommendations for reducing child poverty immediately, including raising the minimum wage, investing in quality child care and affordable housing for poor families, and strengthening the social safety net.


Children’s Defense Fund-California is the California office of the Children’s Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for over 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.