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The annual federal poverty threshold in 2022 is $27,750 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids). But everyone agrees that a family needs much more than that to meet daily needs like shelter, healthy foods, and basic necessities.​

  • The childhood poverty rate is much higher in the United States than in other developed countries.

  • More kids than adults live in poverty

  • About 1 in 5 infants, toddlers and preschoolers (ages birth to 5 yrs) live in poverty

  • There are 14 million impoverished kids in the United States

  • More than one-third of all children in the United States spend at least 1 year in poverty before they become adults

  • In Massachusetts, 12% of children live in poverty; 24% of single-parent families with children live in poverty

For more information about childhood poverty:


When most people think about homelessness, they think about people living on the streets. But homelessness includes kids who are living in motels and shelters, kids who are staying with relatives or friends because they don’t have any housing of their own, and those living in a car, as well as those on the streets with no place to call their own.


  • 1 in every 30 kids in the United States is homeless (that’s 2.5 million kids!)

  • Families with children represent one-third of the homeless population in the United States

  • Kids who are homeless are more likely to have:

    • psychological and behavioral problems

    • lower academic performance and have to repeat a grade

    • more serious physical health problems

  • Every year, homelessness services programs provide emergency shelter or transitional housing to nearly 300,000 kids under age 18

  • Across Massachusetts, public schools identify nearly 25,000 students each year who are experiencing homelessness

For more information about childhood homelessness:

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is when a home doesn’t have enough food for everyone to live an active and healthy life. Not having enough food and being hungry most of the time is especially harmful for children. You don’t have to look far to find food insecurity – it’s in every community and in every school.


  • 11 million kids in the United States live in a food-insecure household

  • At some point last year, 18% of kids under age 18 lived in a home with limited or uncertain availability of safe, nutritious food

  • 22 million kids in the United States rely on free or reduced-price lunch at school

  •  Hungry kids are more likely to…

    • be sick and hospitalized

    • have growth and developmental problems

    • underachieve academically

  • In Massachusetts, 1 in 11 children face hunger every day

For more information about childhood food insecurity:


Childhood trauma can be any frightening, emotionally painful, dangerous, violent, or life threatening event. The event might be experienced directly or witnessed, and it can have lasting mental and physical effects. Such events might include: abuse, neglect, homelessness, fire, accident, bullying, injury, death of a loved one, serious illness, crime, and natural disaster.


  • About two-thirds of all adults in the United States report having experienced at least one traumatic event as a child

  • 26% of kids in the United States will witness or experience a traumatic event before they turn 4 years old

  • 1 in 10 children have experienced three or more traumatic life events

  • Rates of children’s exposure to sexual abuse are estimated to be 25% to 43%

  • 4 of every 10 kids say they experienced a physical assault in the past year

For more information about childhood trauma:

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