With a $21.4 trillion economy, the United States is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth. Despite the vast economic resources, however, a staggering 39.5 million Americans live below the poverty line – and about 12 million of them are children.
Though the threshold varies by family size and composition, for a family of three with one child under age 18, the poverty line is set at an annual income of about $20,600. Based on the different thresholds, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 16.8% of American children live in poverty. The concentration of serious financial hardship for American children varies considerably by geography, however – and child poverty is far more common in some parts of the country than in others.