A Third of DC Children Live in a Neighborhood of Concentrated Poverty

The places in which children live, learn and grow have a tremendous effect on their well-being and success. When a neighborhood is safe and supportive, with community resources and adults who are doing well, children are more likely to prosper. Similarly, if a neighborhood lacks resources and has a high rate of poverty, children can face more challenges.


A third of DC children – an estimated 35,000 children under the age of 18 — live in a neighborhood of concentrated poverty, according to DC KIDS COUNT. Together, these children would fill 60 eight-car rush-hour Metro trains or the Verizon Center (twice).


A neighborhood of concentrated poverty is defined as a community in which 30% of residents live below the federal poverty line – about $24,000 for a family of four. That means on a residential block with 10 families, three would live in poverty. But concentrated poverty is a neighborhood problem that can affect the whole block, not only those three families in poverty.


Put simply, living in a neighborhood of concentrated poverty is harmful for children – not only children living in low-income families. That’s because neighborhoods of concentrated poverty are more likely to lack all kinds of resources – from high-performing schools to grocery stores to safe housing – that help support all the children and families living there.


At DC Action for Children, we hope this is just the beginning of a conversation about how we can work together to build richer neighborhoods and environments for all of our children. Please let us know where you think we should start.

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