Change Indicator

Children in poverty in Maine

Children in poverty

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Note: Non-consecutive years appear adjacent in the trend line
because one or more years have been deselected.

Why This Indicator Matters

Poverty plays a key role in children's well-being and is related to every KIDS COUNT indicator. Children who live in poverty, especially those who live in poverty for long periods of time, are at an increased risk for poor health, cognitive, social, and educational outcomes. They are more likely to have physical, behavioral, and emotional health problems; to have difficulty in school; to become teen parents; and as adults, earn less, and have more mental and physical health issues in adulthood.

What the data shows
The poverty rate in 2022 in the United States for children birth to age 17 was 16.3%, down from 16.9% in 2021 but up from 15.7% in 2020. The over-all poverty rate for children in Maine in 2022 was 12.4%, compared to 13.8%, the previous year, and a steep decline from 2012 when it was 19.8%.  It is the first time that fewer than 30,000 Maine children were in poverty.  Maine's child poverty rate in 2022 was higher than Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

In terms of Maine counties, in 2022, Cumberland, York and Sagadahoc Counties had child poverty rates below 10%. In 2022, no counties had child poverty rates above 20%:  The counties with the highest rates in 2022 were: Somerset (19.0%), Washington (18.5%), and Piscataquis (18.2%).  Between 2019 and 2022 while the state poverty rate declined from 13.8% to 12.4%, Penobscot, Kennebec and Androscoggin Counties saw increases in their child poverty rates.

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Definition and Source



The estimated number and percent of children ages 0-17 living in families who have incomes below the poverty thresholds for the 1-year period noted.  For 2022, a family of 4 is in poverty if their cash income is less than $27,750 for two parents with two children.

Data Source

All estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, SAIPE County 1-year estimates


Note that this county-level data is from Small Area Income & Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) for 1-year periods and not from American Community Survey (ACS) for 5-year periods.

Last Updated

December 2023