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Emily Stahly

Between 2016 and 2017, the poverty rate in Missouri decreased from 14.0 percent to 13.4 percent and the child poverty rate also dropped from 19.2 percent to 18.6 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 1-year estimates. The Bureau recently released its 2013–2017 5-year estimate, which provides more accurate estimates of smaller geographic areas like counties.

So how are Missouri’s counties faring? Below are four interactive maps that provide some information about the disparities between counties in Missouri with regard to the poverty rate and the child poverty rate. For reference, the federal poverty line for a family of four in 2017 was $24,600 and the child poverty rate is the percentage of children under the age of 18 whose family’s income falls below the federal poverty line. 

Here is the poverty rate for each county according to the 2013–2017 5-year estimate:

And here is the child (under age 18) poverty rate for each county according to the 2013–2017 5-year estimate:


The next maps show the percentage-point change from the 2008–2012 5-year estimate to the 2013–2017 5-year estimate. It should be noted that even with this data set, there are fairly large margins of error; still, these numbers give us an idea of the direction in which a particular county is headed.

This is the percentage-point change in the overall poverty rate between the 2008–2012 and 2013–2017 5-year estimates:


And here is the percentage-point change in the child poverty rate:


Poverty is decreasing in Missouri overall, but it appears that some parts of the state are faring better than others. 


About the Author

Emily Stahly

Emily Stahly is an analyst at the Show-Me Institute. She earned her B.A. in politics from Hillsdale College in Michigan and is researching education with the Show-Me Institute.