2012 Update: Child Poverty in Arkansas

The child poverty rate in Arkansas, now at 26.8 percent, is higher than the national average and shows a disturbing upward trend that’s likely to continue as the state experiences the effects of the recession. Over the last ten years for which data is available, the poverty rate has increased by just over two percent. The economic well-being of our children is an important issue for obvious reasons, but child poverty has both short- and long-term impacts that are less apparent (i.e. it can create significant costs to our health and criminal justice systems and negatively impact the economy).

This brief is an update to two 2010 reports: the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families report titled “Child Poverty in Arkansas 2010: A Deepening Problem” and the final report from the Arkansas Legislative Taskforce on Reducing Poverty and Promoting Economic Opportunity. The data included in this report is based on five year (2005-2010) rolling estimates from the American Community Survey, an ongoing survey from the U.S. Census Bureau aimed at giving local communities the information needed for fiscal planning. Data is collected from every county and, as such, presents an accurate representation of child poverty in the state that reflects the realities of the recent recession.