Change Indicator

Children under age 6 in poverty in Hawaii

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Why This Indicator Matters

Poverty and the associated financial stress can harm child development and limit learning opportunities, especially during this critical stage of development.1 Research shows that families need income at least twice the poverty level to cover basic living expenses like food, housing, transportation and childcare.2 Young children growing up in poverty face financial stress that affects cognitive, social, emotional and physical health.3

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Definition and Source



Percent of children under age 6 in families with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level

Data Source

U.S. Census Bureau, (various years), American Community Survey 5 -Year Estimates, Table B17024: Age by Ratio of Income to Poverty Level in the Past 12 Months - Universe: Population for whom poverty status is determined.

Technical note:
Poverty estimates from ACS should not be compared with other poverty indicators based on data from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE).

Please note, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates provide average characteristics aggregated over a 5-year period. The primary advantage of using multiyear estimates is the increased statistical reliability of the data for less populated areas and small population subgroups. However, 5-year estimates are less current than single year estimates (i.e., since they are derived from averages over five calendar years) and should not be compared to single year estimates. The Census Bureau suggests comparing periods that do not overlap, such as comparing 2007-2011 with 2012-2016, which means waiting longer to identify a trend (for more information, read the comparison guidance and Period Estimates in the American Community Survey). However, in areas undergoing fundamental shifts in the size or composition of the population, change may be so substantial that it will be obvious after only a few years. Please see the ACS handbook on Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data for more information. 

Following pandemic-related data collection disruptions, the Census Bureau revised its methodology to reduce nonresponse bias in data collected in 2020. After evaluating the effectiveness of this methodology, the Census Bureau determined the standard, full suite of 2016–2020 ACS 5-year data are fit for public release, government and business uses. To learn more about changes to the methodology, view the methodology user note.

Estimates for Kauai County in all years, Maui County in 2011 and 2010 only offer medium reliability and should be used with caution. For more information, contact the Center on the Family. 

A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at the link in the footnotes below.


1Engle, Patrice L. and Maureen M. Black. 2008. “The Effect of Poverty on Child Development and Educational Outcomes.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1136(1): 243-256. 
2 National Center for Children in Poverty. “Measuring Poverty.” Accessed July 2019. Available here:  
3Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne and Greg J. Duncan. 1997. “The Effects of Poverty on Children.” The Future of Children 7(2).; KIDS COUNT. 2019. “2019 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-being.” The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Available here:; Ratcliffe, Caroline and Signe-Mary McKerman. 2012. “Child Poverty and Its Lasting Consequences.” Washington D.C.: The Urban Institute.

Children under age 6 in poverty.

Last Updated

December 2023