National Poverty Rate Declines

By Tom Mirga — September 04, 1985 1 min read

Although the total number of people living in poverty decreased last year, conditions for black and Hispanic children have become slightly worse, the Bureau of the Census reported last week.

According to an Aug. 27 report by the bureau, the total number of poor people in the nation decreased by 1.8 million, from 35.5 million in 1983 to 33.7 million in 1984.

The nine-tenths of a percentage point decrease--from 15.3 percent to 14.4 percent--represented the largest one-year decline in the national poverty rate in more than a decade.

The report noted, however, that black and Hispanic families were more than twice as likely as whites to have an annual income at or below the 1984 poberty line of $10,609.

According to the bureau, 11.5 percent of all white families fell below the line last year, compared with 33.8 percent of black families and 28.4 percent of Hispanic families.

The report also noted that the poverty rate for white children under the age of 18 declined from 17.5 percent in 1983 to 16.5 percent in 1984. By comparison, the rate for black children remained unchanged at 46.5 percent and increased for Hispanic children from 37.9 percent to 39 percent.

For children under the age of six, the poverty rate for black in 1984 was 51.1 percent, up from 49.4 percent in 1983. The rate for Hispanic children decreased, from 41.8 percent to 40.6 percent, as did the rate for white children, from 19.8 percent to 18.3 percent.

According to the Education Department, the new census data will not affect state allocations for the Chapter 1 program for educationally disadvantaged children. These funds are distributed to states on the basis of once-a-decade census counts of the number of children living in poverty.

The Census Bureau report, “Money Income and Poverty Status of Families and Persons in the United States: 1984,” can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. The stock number is P-60, number 149.

A version of this article appeared in the September 04, 1985 edition of Education Week as National Poverty Rate Declines