The child poverty rate rose during the recession in 1 of every 5 counties across the nation, the U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday.
The increase in poverty between 2007 and 2010 was especially pronounced in the nation’s largest school systems, where 96 of the top 100 districts reported growth in the number of poor children, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Census Bureau tracks school district poverty rates for the U.S. Department of Education, which uses the data to direct federal funding to poor schools. The figures also are used to determine the places where poor children’s test scores must be reported separately under the No Child Left Behind Act, which can affect school funding and personnel.
The government sets the poverty level at $22,113 for a four-person household that includes two people under 18.
Lee County, Florida, reported the greatest increase in poor students during the recession. The proportion of poor children in the district, whose population includes about 90,000 children, almost doubled to 25.3 percent.