Racial Equity
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau

What does this measure?

The number of children under 18 living below the federally defined poverty line, expressed as a percentage of all children under 18 within a racial and ethnic group. Poverty thresholds vary by family composition and year. In 2022, the threshold for a four-person family with two children was $29,700.

Why is this important?

Children raised in impoverished environments are at higher risk of health and social problems, including Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), which can negatively impact performance in school. Racial and ethnic disparities in child poverty rates stem from complex and interrelated reasons. Research suggests they include both historic and modern-day discrimination, as well as public policies that reinforce or do not address racial inequities in income, education, housing and other factors that are critical to economic mobility.

How is our county performing?

Poverty rates were much higher among Hispanic or Latino (24%) and Black or African American (19%) children than among White children (9%) in Worcester County in 2018-22. Rates for all groups have declined since 2008-13. Rates declined the most for Latino children with a decrease of 17 percentage points, followed by Black (down three points) and White children (down two points).

Worcester County's rates for all groups were similar to the state. Compared to the nation, the County's poverty rate for African American children was significantly lower: 19% in the County compared to 31% nationwide.

Why do these disparities exist?

Large and persistent disparities in poverty rates are the result of historic and current policies and practices that disadvantaged people of color. Research has connected slavery and the inability of Black Americans even after emancipation to fully participate in economic life to the wealth and income gaps still present today. Poverty often crosses generations, resulting in high rates of child poverty rates. Factors may include: living in a single-parent household, especially if the single parent is female; having parent(s) who are unemployed, employed and/or underemployed in low-wage jobs or incarcerated; and living in communities that have experienced disinvestment and have ineffective and/or under-resourced schools.

Notes about the data

Poverty status is not reported for people in institutions, including college dormitories and military barracks, and people in living situations without conventional housing. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (White, African American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic), so the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.

The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.

Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity, 2018-22
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinoWhite
Worcester County8%*19%24%9%
AtholN/A***N/A***11%***9%***
Clinton0%***0%***20%***5%***
Fitchburg3%***8%***23%**13%**
Gardner28%***12%***40%***27%**
Northbridge0%***0%***16%***9%***
Southbridge0%***6%***28%*28%*
SpencerN/A***N/A***0%***0%***
Webster0%***37%***42%***11%***
Westborough0%***0%***14%***5%***
Worcester21%**24%*30%21%
Massachusetts8%21%26%8%
Additional Worcester County localities
AshburnhamN/A***N/A***78%***8%***
Auburn7%***0%***8%***5%***
BarreN/A***N/A***0%***25%***
BerlinN/A***0%***0%***0%***
Blackstone0%***1%***0%***2%***
Bolton0%***N/A***0%***0%***
Boylston0%***N/A***11%***13%***
BrookfieldN/A***N/A***27%***3%***
CharltonN/A***0%***19%***1%***
DouglasN/A***N/A***0%***0%***
Dudley50%***0%***8%***5%***
East Brookfield0%***0%***0%***17%***
Grafton9%***0%***29%***1%***
HardwickN/A***N/A***44%***22%***
Harvard0%***0%***0%***3%***
Holden0%***0%***0%***2%***
HopedaleN/A***N/A***0%***1%***
Hubbardston100%***0%***0%***3%***
LancasterN/A***0%***0%***4%***
LeicesterN/A***42%***0%***6%***
Lunenburg0%***0%***0%***13%***
MendonN/A***N/A***0%***12%***
Milford0%***0%***14%***16%***
Millbury0%***0%***0%***7%***
MillvilleN/A***N/A***0%***17%***
New Braintree0%***0%***N/A***21%***
Northborough1%***86%***0%***0%***
North BrookfieldN/A***0%***N/A***26%***
OakhamN/A***0%***0%***0%***
OxfordN/A***0%***17%***0%***
Paxton0%***0%***0%***1%***
PetershamN/A***N/A***100%***2%***
PhillipstonN/A***N/A***N/A***0%***
PrincetonN/A***N/A***0%***0%***
RoyalstonN/A***N/A***N/A***16%***
Rutland0%***0%***0%***1%***
Shrewsbury2%***5%***0%***1%***
Southborough3%***0%***0%***2%***
SterlingN/A***0%***0%***0%***
Sturbridge0%***0%***0%***7%***
SuttonN/A***0%***8%***3%***
TempletonN/A***N/A***0%***2%***
Upton0%***0%***0%***0%***
Uxbridge56%***0%***0%***3%***
WarrenN/A***N/A***N/A***6%***
West BoylstonN/A***0%***0%***11%***
West BrookfieldN/A***N/A***33%***6%***
WestminsterN/A***N/A***0%***1%***
Winchendon15%***N/A***0%***22%**
Leominster20%***3%***14%***14%**

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity, 2018-22
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinoWhite
Worcester County760*2,2587,94111,224
Athol0***0***14***185***
Clinton0***0***112***108***
Fitchburg2***52***881**613**
Gardner22***13***209***735**
Northbridge0***0***79***268***
Southbridge0***15***546*642*
Spencer0***0***0***0***
Webster0***142***457***259***
Westborough0***0***71***131***
Worcester456**1,777*4,7283,739
Massachusetts7,47525,11767,80269,332
Additional Worcester County localities
Ashburnham0***0***78***91***
Auburn7***0***19***145***
Barre0***0***0***205***
Berlin0***0***0***0***
Blackstone0***1***0***35***
Bolton0***0***0***0***
Boylston0***0***6***117***
Brookfield0***0***9***17***
Charlton0***0***78***22***
Douglas0***0***0***0***
Dudley17***0***15***93***
East Brookfield0***0***0***47***
Grafton33***0***122***27***
Hardwick0***0***79***101***
Harvard0***0***0***30***
Holden0***0***0***98***
Hopedale0***0***0***20***
Hubbardston57***0***0***18***
Lancaster0***0***0***42***
Leicester0***84***0***118***
Lunenburg0***0***0***293***
Mendon0***0***0***169***
Milford0***0***138***614***
Millbury0***0***0***149***
Millville0***0***0***93***
New Braintree0***0***0***38***
Northborough5***147***0***0***
North Brookfield0***0***0***195***
Oakham0***0***0***0***
Oxford0***0***45***0***
Paxton0***0***0***11***
Petersham0***0***3***3***
Phillipston0***0***0***0***
Princeton0***0***0***0***
Royalston0***0***0***50***
Rutland0***0***0***27***
Shrewsbury55***17***0***40***
Southborough17***0***0***30***
Sterling0***0***0***0***
Sturbridge0***0***0***131***
Sutton0***0***8***54***
Templeton0***0***0***33***
Upton0***0***0***0***
Uxbridge18***0***0***83***
Warren0***0***0***59***
West Boylston0***0***0***103***
West Brookfield0***0***19***36***
Westminster0***0***0***14***
Winchendon26***0***0***380**
Leominster45***10***225***713**

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.







INDICATORS TREND
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments 1
Increasing
Average Charitable Contribution 0
Maintaining
Households With Internet Access 1
Increasing
Protected Land 10 Not Applicable*
Voter Participation Rate -1
Decreasing
Voter Registration Rate 0
Maintaining
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Foreign-Born Population 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
Population by Age -1
Decreasing
Households by Type 0
Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Median Household Income 0
Maintaining
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
80/20 Income Ratio 0
Maintaining
Income in Relation to Poverty Level 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Age 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Homelessness 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance 0
Maintaining
Households Without Vehicles 0
Maintaining
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Change in Employment by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Average Salary by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Female to Male Earnings Ratio 0
Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Employer Size 1
Increasing
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Self-Employment Revenue 0
Maintaining
People Entering/Leaving County for Work 1
Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Preterm Births 10 Not Applicable*
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels -1
Decreasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma 1
Increasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
People Without Health Insurance -1
Decreasing
Cancer Incidence 0
Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence -1
Decreasing
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions 1
Increasing
Opioid Overdose Mortality Rate 1
Increasing
Children Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students 1
Increasing
Disengaged Youth -1
Decreasing
Prekindergarten Participation -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Student Group 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Student Group 1
Increasing





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