Report: Child Poverty Surges In N.H.

Sep 20, 2013

The percentage of children living in poverty in New Hampshire surged last year to 15.6 percent.

That’s up from 12 percent in 2011, the largest increase of any state.

The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire released the report that’s based on survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Institute’s Director of Research on Vulnerable Families Beth Mattingly says there are no obvious reasons for the sudden increase.

“What demographic characteristics of our state may have changed? Are people employed less? Obviously, on average, there’s more people in poverty, but overall are people earning less? We’re going to look at the full demographic picture to see what we can figure out.”

New Hampshire had the lowest child poverty rate for more than a decade.

But a report shows ten states – including Massachusetts and Connecticut – now have lower rates.

Executive Director of the Children’s Alliance of New Hampshire Ellen Fineberg calls the report extremely concerning.

And she says while the exact cause of the increase is still unknown, she suspects is has to do in part with state budget cuts in recent years.

“There was some state funding that went to unemployed parents. That was also eliminated and there were at least 250 cases that were closed under that, when that happened in July of 2011.”

In the Granite State, child poverty is at about 18 percent in rural areas, and just under 10 percent in suburban regions.

Nationally, the child poverty rate held steady at 22.6 percent.

Last year, the federal poverty line for a family of four was slightly more than 23 thousand dollars.