What are good sources of information on basic trends in poverty and related issues?

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?

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Child & Family Well-Being

American FactFinder

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.

Census Bureau Child Support

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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Maternal and Infant Health

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.

Child Maltreatment

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.

Child Welfare Information Gateway

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.

National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)

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.

National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health)

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.

National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH)

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.

National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG)

Survey that gathers information on family life, marriage and divorce, pregnancy, infertility, use of contraception, and men’s and women’s health.

State Data Centers (SDC)

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.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

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

Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index

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.

Criminal Justice

Bureau of Justice Statistics

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.

Easy Access to Juvenile Populations (EZAPOP)

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.

Indicators of School Crime and Safety

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.

Pew Research Center Criminal Justice Trends

Interactive tools and data sets related to criminal justice in America.

EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit)

Congressional Research Service

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.

EITC Interactive Database

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.

Internal Revenue Service EITC Page

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.

Tax Policy Center EITC Page

An Urban Institute and Brookings Institution project that offers a guide to elements of the federal tax system, including the EITC.


National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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.

National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Data System

Provides information on U.S. colleges, universities, and technical and vocational institutions.

Pew Charitable Trusts

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.

Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups

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.

Teacher Trends

Summarizes current trends in the teaching profession and provides links to sources and more extensive data.

Trends in Higher Education

Resource of the College Board providing information about trends in college pricing, student aid, returns to higher education, community college enrollment, and related topics.


Bureau of Labor Statistics

Department of Labor releases monthly data on unemployment in their Economy at a Glance section as well as trend data.

Economic Policy Institute

Data Zone has information on unemployment, underemployment, and wages through various dates up to 2007.

Employment by Race and Place

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.

MDRC Public Use Data Files

Source data used in MDRC analyses on a wide range of topics related to poverty including barriers to employment.

Rural America at a Glance

Indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas, focusing on the U.S. rural economy, including employment, unemployment, and labor force participation.

Food Insecurity

Child Trends Food Insecurity Databank Indicator

Trends in child food insecurity by a range of characteristics, including family structure and race and Hispanic origin.

Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Food Security in the U.S.

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.

Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement

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.

Feeding America

Synthetic estimates of food insecurity at the state, county, food bank, and congressional district levels.

Wisconsin Food Security Project

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.


Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project

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.

Health Insurance Coverage

Recent and trend data from the Census Bureau collection of health insurance data for the nation and for particular states.

National Center for Health Statistics

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 Interview Survey

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on a wide range of health topics collected through personal household interviews since 1957.

Visualizing Health Policy

Kaiser Family Foundation infographic examines eligibility and coverage trends in employer-sponsored health insurance.


Bureau of Economic Analysis State and Local Area Personal Income

State, county, and metropolitan statistical area personal income including per capita income back to 1969.

Census Bureau Income Page

Contains extensive national and state data on income trends.

Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality

A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tool for using the Center’s research and publications on income trends.

Medicaid and Medicare

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Summary statistics for Medicaid, Medicare, and other health care programs, including trend data. Searches are facilitated by the CMS DataNavigator tool. See also CMS Fast Facts.

Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts

Compare indicators across states for Medicaid and CHIP and Medicare.

Medicare and Medicaid Trends in Health Care Sectors

A data set on trends intended for public access and use.

Nonmarital Childbearing

National Center for Health Statistics

Access to data and trend reports on unmarried childbearing in the United States.

National Survey of Family Growth

Gathers information on family life, including nonmarital childbearing, trends in attitudes, and related information tracking long-term change.


American FactFinder

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.

Historical County-Level Poverty Estimates Tool

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.

Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)

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)

Food and Nutrition Service

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.

Congressional Budget Office

The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2016 to 2026 includes SNAP outlay trends and predictions.

Recession Trends: Monitoring the Effects of the Great Recession: Social Safety Net

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)

Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance

Access to statistics on TANF caseloads, expenditures, work participation rates both recent and past.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

State TANF retrospective after 20 years.

Child Trends Databank Indicator/Child Recipients of AFDC/TANF

Collection of AFDC/TANF participation among families with children over time.

Kids Count Data Center and Data Book

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.

Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)

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)

Food and Nutrition Service

Provides national annual summaries, 1974–2016; monthly data from 2012 through November 2016; and annual state-level participation data from 2009–2016.

Kids Count Data Center and Data Book

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.