Change Indicator

Children in poverty (<100% poverty threshold) in Massachusetts

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Why This Indicator Matters

When wages are low and incomes aren’t enough to afford the basics, children face significant obstacles to opportunity right from the start, and in some communities in Massachusetts, more than one out of every four children lives below the official federal poverty line. These children are more likely to be at risk for many long-term challenges. Children may be living in substandard housing, or may be exposed to environmental contaminants in the community or even in the home. Children may experience psychological stress from housing instability, or even be at risk of homelessness. Families may have limited access to affordable and healthy food. Families may struggle to get affordable high-quality child care. All of these challenges can have long-term impacts on children’s development and their physical and mental health.

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Definition and Source



Number – Number of children under 18 under 100% of the federal poverty level.

Percent – Percent of children under 100% of the federal poverty level.

S – Data suppressed: estimate has low statistical reliability due to small sample size and is more likely to be inaccurate.

Poverty status defined by family: either everyone in the family is in poverty or no one in the family is in poverty. Family income is then compared to the Census Bureau’s poverty threshold.

Data Source

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B17024. Updated January 2023 with 2017-2021 data..


These are estimates based on a survey, and they may be highly unreliable for towns with small populations due to small sample sizes.

When comparing estimates over time, researchers recommend comparing time periods that do not include overlapping years.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on data collection in 2020. The Census Bureau does not recommend comparing data from 2016-2020 to other years.

Last Updated

January 2023