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Children in poverty by county in Maine

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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 2021 in the United States for children birth to age 17 was 16.9%, up from 15.7% in 2020. The over-all poverty rate for children in Maine in 2021 was 13.8%, compared to 12.8%, the previous year, and the same rate 13.8% in 2019; but a steep decline from 2012 when it was 19.8%.  Maine's child poverty rate in 2021 continued to be higher than all of the other New England states except Rhode Island.

In terms of Maine counties, in 2021, both Cumberland and York Counties had child poverty rates below 10%. In 2021, there were three counties with child poverty rates above 20%:  Washington (22.5%), Piscataquis (21.3%) and Oxford (20.9%). Comparing 2021 to 2019, (pre-pandemic) three counties saw increased child poverty rates: Androscoggin, Oxford and Penobscot, while three counties stayed the same and 10 counties improved their child poverty rates.    The counties with the largest 2-year improvement from 2019 to 2021 were Knox, Somerset and Lincoln.  

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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 2021, a family of 4 is in poverty if their cash income is less than $27,479 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.

Uploaded December 2022.

Last Updated

December 2022