Children Ages 5 to 17 in Poverty

Young children living in poverty experience unique barriers to food access, stable housing, employment, healthcare, and social support. These barriers can hinder a child’s ability to achieve academic success. In addition, children living below the poverty line may struggle with finding stable and substantial employment as adults.

Peer City Perspectives

Louisville currently ranks 9th among its peer cities in child poverty among older children, with 20.7% of children between the ages of 5 to 17 living in poverty. In 2017, the poverty line was $16,240 for a family of two and $24,600 for a family of four.

Louisville is in the middle of its peer group according to a natural breaks algorithm. Cities in green are those that outperform their peers, cities in yellow represent the middle cluster, and those in red are a group that lags behind its peers on this indicator.

Where is childhood poverty found in Louisville?

Although Louisville ranks 9th out of 17 cities in child poverty rates, child poverty varies substantially within the city. There are more children, ages 5-17, in poverty west of I-65. In the map to the left, areas with high rates of child poverty are purple, and areas with average to low rates are white.

Child poverty is most concentrated in Louisville’s western and downtown neighborhoods. Portland and Russel have the highest rates of child poverty at 67% and 66%. The lowest rates of child poverty are in Floyd’s Fork, the Highlands, and Northeast Jefferson.

Scroll over the map to see values for each census tract. Zoom in to see street names that form the boundaries of each tract.

Trend Over Time

The child poverty rate in Louisville has been steadily decreasing since 2011.  Until then, Louisville traditionally ranked in the bottom 50% of its peer cities. However, Louisville has been reducing child poverty at a faster rate than many of its peer cities over the past 5 years, and it is now ranked below the peer city mean. Concerted efforts to eradicate child poverty could create a foundation that would place Louisville in the top tier of cities for generations to come.

Comparison between the Most and Least Improved Peer Cities

The percentage of children ages 5 to 17 in poverty is currently higher in all peer cities than it was in 2000. Since the end of the Great Recession, child poverty in Louisville has decreased faster than the peer average. The most improved city since 2000 is St. Louis, which only saw an increase in child poverty among ages 5 to 17 of 2.5 percentage points. Poverty among children in Louisville increased by 4 percentage points over the same timeframe.

Differences Based on Race

There percentage of Black children ages 5 to 17 in poverty is almost four times as high as the percentage of White children ages 5 to 17 in poverty. This gap has persisted over time. Child poverty for ages 5 to 17 among both White and Black children is higher in Louisville than their respective peer means.

Differences Based on Sex

The percentage of female children ages 5 to 17 is below their peer mean, and male children are approximately at their peer mean. The percentage of males ages 5 to 17 in poverty is higher than that of females of the same age.