The percent of children in poverty in Connecticut increased to 13.2 percent, up from 10.4 percent in the 2000 Census, according to advocacy organization Connecticut Voices for Children, which analyzed data in the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) covering 2008-2012. The statewide increase in poverty among children reflects significantly increased child poverty rates in 30 cities and towns, and decreased poverty rates for children in only 12 communities.
Income disparities among Connecticut’s communities are also clearly reflected in the data. In Hartford, for example, the percentage of children in poverty reached a state high of 45 percent and the adult poverty rate hit 33 percent, while at the other end of the spectrum, the rate in Canterbury was less than 1 percent among children and less than 3 percent among adults.
After Hartford, the percentage of children living in poverty was at its highest in the state’s urban and rural communities: New Haven topped 37 percent, in Waterbury 34 percent, New London 29 percent, Cornwall, 27 percent, Norwich 23 percent, Meriden 22 percent, East Hartford and Preston, both at 21 percent, Stamford and Kent, both at 13 percent, and Danbury 12 percent.
The following 30 towns had statistically significant increases in the percent of all children in poverty: Ansonia, Avon, Berlin, Branford, Bridgeport, Cornwall, Danbury, Darien, Derby, East Haddam, East Hartford, East Haven, Enfield, Hartford, Harwinton, Litchfield, Meriden, Middletown, New Britain, New Hartford, New Haven, Norwich, Plymouth, Preston, Stamford, Vernon, Waterbury, West Haven, Windham, and Windsor Locks.
The following 12 towns had statistically significant decreases in the percent of children in poverty: Barkhamsted, Canterbury, Columbia, Granby, Hamden, Morris, Old Lyme, Salisbury, Sharon, Thomaston, Winchester, and Woodbridge.
The percent of all Connecticut residents in poverty increased to 10.0 percent according to the ACS data, up from 7.9 percent in Census 2000 (1999 figures). Because the ACS is based on information gathered from a sample of local residents, the "sample size" in each town can be small in any one year. The Census Bureau, therefore, averages together five years of data to create more reliable estimates.
In another report issued early this year, it was revealed that over the past two decades, Connecticut has committed less and less of its state budget to young people, according to the Fiscal Policy Center at Connecticut Voices for Children.
The report finds that spending on the “Children’s Budget” – state government spending that directly benefits young people – has dropped from 40% of the state budget in Fiscal Year 1992 to 30% in the current budget year (FY 2014). Spending on education has fallen by about a third -- from 26% of the state budget to 19% between Fiscal Years 1992 and 2014. The report, “Introducing the Children’s Budget,” is available on the Connecticut Voices for Children website at www.ctvoices.org
Connecticut Voices for Children is a research-based think tank that advocates for policies that benefit the state’s children and families. Based in New Haven, the organization advances its mission through high quality research and analysis, strategic communications, community education, and development of the next generation of advocates.