This FAQ provides a list of websites, arranged by topic in alphabetical order with brief descriptions and links, that provide basic information on trends in poverty and related issues.
See also FAQ: What are good sources of demographic and socioeconomic information for states, counties, and cities?
Child & Family Well-Being
Census Bureau resource offering basic data on population, housing, economic, and geographic information including for children and families in the form of tables and maps for the United States, states, counties, cities, towns, American Indian reservations, Puerto Rico, and the island areas. Community Facts offers tables or maps of such information for states and counties, and cities, towns, or zip codes of sufficient size to make reasonably reliable estimates.
Estimates of child support received by custodial parents from noncustodial parents on behalf of their children drawn from each year’s April edition of Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: There were major changes made to the April CPS starting in 1994, which precludes easy comparisons of 1993 or later child support data to earlier data (1991 and earlier). See also the Survey of Income and Program Participation Support Providers: 2010 panel.
Data and statistics on maternal and infant health, including pregnancy complications, preterm birth, and infant mortality. Also offers extensive list of data and statistics reference links.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Children’s Bureau compiles annual reports that include data submitted by states, going back to 1995.
Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics comprises a working group of 23 agencies that collects, analyzes, and reports data on conditions and trends related to child and family well-being.
A service of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Children’s Bureau, the site provides information, resources, and tools covering topics including child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and statistics on the number of children who are abused, neglected, and in foster care. Numbers and trends series are also available.
Annie E. Casey Foundation project that offers data on child and family well-being in the United States by location, topic, and characteristic, including statistics on hundreds of indicators on demographics, economic well-being, education, family and community, health, parental incarceration, and safety and risky behaviors. Includes an annual KIDS COUNT Data Book noting state trends in child well-being.
Nonpartisan, public interest research organization at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health dedicated to promoting economic security, health, and well-being of America’s low-income children and families. Site offers access to extensive data and tools, including trend reports, Basic Needs Budget Calculator, Young Child Risk Calculator, 50-State Demographics Wizard, and 50-State Policy Tracker.
Longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of adolescents in grades 7–12 during the 1994–1995 school year who have been followed since that time (the most recent interviews were conducted in 2008). The survey combines longitudinal survey data on respondents’ social, economic, psychological and physical well-being with contextual data on the family, neighborhood, community, school, friendships, peer groups, and romantic relationships.
Survey conducted in English and Spanish by telephone during 2003–2004 and for a second time in 2007–2008 that provides a broad range of information about children’s health and well-being.
Survey that gathers information on family life, marriage and divorce, pregnancy, infertility, use of contraception, and men’s and women’s health.
Joint projects of the Census Bureau and particular states that make state data available to the public through a network of state agencies, universities, libraries, and regional and local governments. Find links to states’ lead agencies on the SDC Member Network page.
Monitors six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults, including behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection; alcohol and other drug use; tobacco use; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and inadequate physical activity.
Consumer Price Index and Inflation
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Indexes program tracks monthly changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for selected goods and services, the home page for CPI information, data, and tools. The site includes interactive charts that depict trends and, beginning in January 2018, will offer a new geographic area sample for the CPI, selected to be representative of U.S. demographics.
See also IRP’s FAQ: What is the consumer price index and how is it used?, which provides general information on the consumer price index (CPI) and also contains links to more detailed information on the CPI that can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and to a CPI calculator that can be used to inflate and deflate prices from year to year.
Crime and justice statistics for selected large counties and metropolitan areas, as well as for states, including information on corrections, courts, crime type, Indian Country justice, law enforcement, and victims.
Compilation of justice-related information for youths, including population profiles, state comparisons, and county comparisons derived from data collected by the Census Bureau and subsequently modified by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Data on victimization, teacher injury, bullying and cyber-bullying, school conditions, fear and avoidance, fights, weapons, availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions, and other related topics. Indicators of crime and safety are compared across different population subgroups and over time. Data on crimes that occur away from school are offered as a point of comparison where available.
Interactive tools and data sets related to criminal justice in America.
EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit)
An overview of the EITC published January 19, 2016, includes trend data, including the number of tax filers claiming the credit between 1975 and 2013.
Brookings Institution interactive that provides access to IRS data on federal individual income tax filers, available for all ZIP codes, cities, counties, metropolitan areas, states, state legislative districts, and congressional districts in the United States.
Some poverty experts think that changes in the nature of the safety net over the last two decades along with significant increases in the EITC, a refundable tax credit for people with low to moderate income, has transformed this credit into a principal antipoverty program in the United States. This page includes information on EITC claims over time, state by state, and statistical sample wording. See also the Statistics for Tax Returns with EITC page.
An Urban Institute and Brookings Institution project that offers a guide to elements of the federal tax system, including the EITC.
The primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations, NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.
Provides information on U.S. colleges, universities, and technical and vocational institutions.
A chartbook that illustrates the existing federal-state higher education funding relationship, how it has evolved, and its differences across states. Covers changes and trends in federal and state funding of higher education.
Provides access to key indicators of the educational progress and challenges students face in America by race/ethnicity. These indicators summarize the latest racial/ethnic data as well as trends on topics such as demographics; preprimary, elementary, and secondary participation; student achievement; student behaviors and persistence in education, postsecondary education, and outcomes of education.
Summarizes current trends in the teaching profession and provides links to sources and more extensive data.
Resource of the College Board providing information about trends in college pricing, student aid, returns to higher education, community college enrollment, and related topics.
Department of Labor releases monthly data on unemployment in their Economy at a Glance section as well as trend data.
Data Zone has information on unemployment, underemployment, and wages through various dates up to 2007.
Brookings Institution interactive data tool provides employment data by race in the nation’s largest local jurisdictions—cities and counties with populations over 500,000.
Local Area Unemployment Statistics and Occupational Employment Statistics are available on these Bureau of Labor Statistics sites for the nation as a whole, individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.
Source data used in MDRC analyses on a wide range of topics related to poverty including barriers to employment.
Indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas, focusing on the U.S. rural economy, including employment, unemployment, and labor force participation.
Trends in child food insecurity by a range of characteristics, including family structure and race and Hispanic origin.
Recent and trend data on food security of households, households with children, estimates of population living in food-insecure households, very low food security by household characteristics, trends in prevalence rates, and a map of state-level prevalence of food insecurity.
Data set intended for public access and use of a national survey on household food expenditures, food assistance program participation, food sufficiency, coping techniques for food insecurity, and concerns about food security.
Synthetic estimates of food insecurity at the state, county, food bank, and congressional district levels.
Localized information about the food security infrastructure in Wisconsin. Users can create custom maps, community profiles, and charts. Selected data are also downloadable. The project is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Human Ecology and UW Extension Family Living Programs.
Family of databases, software tools and related products developed through a federal-state-industry partnership and sponsored by the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Databases, which are derived from administrative data, cover encounter-level, clinical and nonclinical information including diagnoses and procedures, discharge status, patient demographics, and charges for all patients, regardless of payer (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, uninsured), beginning in 1988.
Recent and trend data from the Census Bureau collection of health insurance data for the nation and for particular states.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention downloadable public-use data files providing access to data sets, documentation, and questionnaires from NCHS surveys and data collection systems, including links to the following:
- National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
- National Health Care Surveys (multiple)
- National Vital Statistics System (NVSS)
- National Immunization Survey (NIS)
- Longitudinal Studies of Aging (LSOA)
- State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS; multiple)
- NCHS Data Linkage
- Compressed Mortality File
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on a wide range of health topics collected through personal household interviews since 1957.
Kaiser Family Foundation infographic examines eligibility and coverage trends in employer-sponsored health insurance.
State, county, and metropolitan statistical area personal income including per capita income back to 1969.
Contains extensive national and state data on income trends.
A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tool for using the Center’s research and publications on income trends.
Medicaid and Medicare
A data set on trends intended for public access and use.
- Nonmarital Childbearing
Census Bureau site providing basic data on poverty, income, and other data related to population, housing, economic, and geographic in the form of tables and maps for the United States, states, counties, cities, towns, American Indian reservations, Puerto Rico, and the island areas. Community Facts offers tables or maps of such information for states and counties, and cities, towns, or zip codes of sufficient size to make reasonably reliable estimates.
Interactive Excel-based visualization tool that draws from the 1960–2000 decennial censuses and more recent estimates based on 5-year data from the American Community Survey to produce data on the number and percentage of people in poverty for each U.S. county.
A limited range of estimates for selected statistics on poverty and income for states, counties, and school districts, which combine data from administrative records, post-census population estimates, and the decennial census with direct estimates from the American Community Survey to provide reliable single-year estimates. The SAIPE model-based single-year estimates better reflect current conditions than multi-year survey estimates.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps)
This agency of the Department of Agriculture publishes regular program data; annual summaries of participation and costs from 1969 to 2016; trend reports; national and/or state level data; interactive map of SNAP households by congressional district; retailer data; and more.
The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2016 to 2026 includes SNAP outlay trends and predictions.
Website managed by the Russell Sage Foundation and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality that provides interactive access to trend data for a wide range of safety net-related indicators, including SNAP participation.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Access to statistics on TANF caseloads, expenditures, work participation rates both recent and past.
State TANF retrospective after 20 years.
Collection of AFDC/TANF participation among families with children over time.
Interactive data source maintained by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that includes information about the number of families receiving TANF by state and over time.
All-inclusive information about the income and program participation of individuals and households in the United States, including TANF.
WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, & Children)
Provides national annual summaries, 1974–2016; monthly data from 2012 through November 2016; and annual state-level participation data from 2009–2016.
Interactive data source maintained by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that includes information about the number of families participants in the WIC program by state and county and over time.