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rc=”/files/u2/Garretheadstart380.jpg” title=”Garret County, Maryland, Head Start” alt=”Garret County, Maryland, Head Start” align=”left” height=”245″ hspace=”5″ vspace=”5″ width=”380″ />Cindy Stork of the Oakland Head Start in Garret County, Maryland, greets her students.
Photo: Kainaz Amaria

Most states saw an increase in the percentage of rural children living in poverty during the first years of this century, according to a report issued by University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute.

In 2000, 19 percent of children living in rural counties lived in poverty. By 2006, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau, 22 percent of rural children lived in families that had incomes that placed them in poverty. Texas has the most children living in poverty, Connecticut the fewest.

Nationally, the overall poverty rate for all Americans decreased between 2005 and 2006, the first time that’s happened this decade.

A message from the Rural Assembly

Rural Child Poverty by region 2006 Mississippi had the highest percentage of rural children living in poverty — more than a third of those under 18 years of age living outside metropolitan regions. Five states — Ohio, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee, and South Carolina — showed increases of five percentage points or more in rural child poverty rate between 2000 and 2006.

In all there was an increase in the percentage of rural children living in poverty in 37 of 47 states. (There are no officially rural counties in Rhode Island, New Jersey or Massachusetts.) Regionally, the South had the highest proportion of poor rural children, but the greatest percentage increase in poor rural kids was in the Midwest.

Demographers track the child poverty rate because it is the best single indicator of children's well being. The child poverty rate is closely related to delinquency, disease and emotional health.

Here are some breakdowns by states of child poverty numbers and rates, beginning with the number of rural children living in poverty by state. Following are two more charts, showing the percentage of a state's rural population under 18 living in poverty; and a chart showing the change in the percent of kids living in poverty from 2000 to 2006.

A message from the Rural Assembly

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STATETotal Rural Population Under age 18 Below Poverty
Connecticut5,993
Nevada6,803
Maryland7,224
Delaware7,269
Wyoming8,891
New Hampshire9,627
Alaska10,623
Vermont11,139
North Dakota11,903
Utah12,562
Hawaii12,651
South Dakota20,987
Idaho21,886
Maine222,713
Montana25,559
Colorado26,889
Nebraska29,568
California31,532
Washington36,469
Iowa38,949
Oregon40,256
Minnesota41,850
Virginia42,472
Kansas42,697
Wisconsin44,538
Arizona49,049
West Virginia49,293
Florida52,371
New Mexico53,420
Indiana61,289
New York63,898
Illinois70,093
Pennsylvania72,294
South Carolina72,881
Michigan73,266
Arkansas76,256
Alabama79,674
Missouri3 80,212
Oklahoma82,274
Tennessee92,079
Louisiana101,521
Ohio105,850
Kentucky113,363
Georgia116,169
Mississippi146,446
North Carolina157,381
Texas199,362
   
STATEPercent of rural population under age 18 below poverty
Connecticut9.1
New Hampshire9.7
Maryland10.9
Wyoming10.9
Nevada11.1
Iowa12.9
Vermont12.9
Minnesota13.4
Wisconsin13.4
Hawaii14.7
Utah14.8
North Dakota15.7
Nebraska16.5
Idaho16.8
Pennsylvania17.5
Kansas17.9
Indiana18.0
Alaska18.3
Michigan18.3
California18.4
Colorado18.4
Montana18.4
Virginia19.2
Illinois19.6
Delaware19.7
New York19.7
Ohio20.2
South Dakota20.2
Maine220.6
Washington21.0
Oregon21.9
Missouri3 22.3
Florida23.4
Tennessee25.1
Alabama25.2
North Carolina25.2
Oklahoma26.8
Georgia26.9
Texas27.3
Kentucky27.7
Arkansas28.4
Arizona28.8
South Carolina29.1
West Virginia29.2
New Mexico30.1
Louisiana34.4
Mississippi34.7
   
STATESPercentage Point Change in Rural Child Poverty Rate from 2000 to 2006
Maryland 4.0
California 3.7
Wyoming 3.6
Hawaii 2.2
Montana 2.0
Nevada 1.2
North Dakota 1.1
Alabama 1.0
Arizona 0.7
South Dakota 0.1
New Mexico0.2
Vermont0.3
Florida0.7
New Hampshire0.9
Idaho1.1
Washington1.3
Utah1.4
West Virginia1.5
Iowa1.7
Missouri3 2.0
Kentucky2.1
Minnesota2.1
Virginia2.2
Connecticut2.4
New York2.4
Texas2.4
Pennsylvania2.5
Nebraska3.0
Louisiana3.2
Wisconsin3.2
Kansas3.7
Arkansas3.8
Georgia3.8
Oklahoma3.9
Colorado4.0
Mississippi4.1
Oregon4.1
Delaware4.4
North Carolina4.6
Alaska4.8
Michigan4.8
Illinois4.9
South Carolina5.3
Tennessee5.4
Maine25.5
Indiana6.4
Ohio6.8