Poverty rates for school-age children remain higher than pre-recession rates.
Poverty rates for school-age children remain higher than pre-recession rates.
U.S. Census Burea map
Dec 29, 2014

9 SD Counties at Top, 9 at Bottom in School Age Poverty

By Northern Plains News

South Dakota’s Indian reservation counties remain among the highest poverty rates for school-age children, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates released this month.

Nine South Dakota counties were in the top tier of counties nationally with poverty rates between 34.2 and 63.2 percent of the school-aged population. These counties are:
  • Corson
  • Ziebach
  • Dewey
  • Shannon
  • Jackson
  • Mellette
  • Bennett
  • Todd
  • Buffalo

These counties encompass the Cheyenne River, Rosebud, Pine Ridge and Crow Creek reservations.

On the other extreme, a number of South Dakota counties were among those with the lowest rates of poverty for school-aged children at 2.9 to 11.6 percent. These counties are:

  • Lincoln
  • Brown
  • Codington
  • Brookings
  • McCook
  • Hand
  • Hughes
  • Union
  • Campbell

Nationally, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the poverty rate for school-age children had no statistical change in 2,199 counties between 2007 and 2013 while 928 counties experienced an increase and 15 showed a decline.

The statistics are from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program, which, according to the Census Bureau, provides the only up-to-date, single-year income and poverty statistics for all counties and school districts — roughly 3,140 counties and nearly 14,000 school districts nationally.

"County school-age child poverty rates are still above their prerecession levels in metropolitan areas of California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, as well as the coastal areas of the Northeast and Great Lakes states," said Wesley Basel of the Census Bureau's Small Area Estimates Branch. "State and local programs use these statistics for distributing funds and managing school programs."

The Census Bureau says the findings show there were large concentrations in the South and West of the 972 counties with poverty rates statistically above the national average of 20.8 percent for school-age children

Conversely, 902 counties had poverty rates for school-age children that were statistically lower than the national rate. In five states, 80 percent of counties had rates lower than the national rate: Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

The official poverty statistics for the nation were released in the fall showing a decline in the poverty rate for children under age 18 from the previous year for the first time since 2000.


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