Family Poverty Declines for Third Consecutive Year
Poverty can have negative health impacts for both children and adults. For children, growing up in an impoverished household increases their risk for lower cognitive abilities, lower school achievement, and poorer development. Tracking poverty can assist with targeting interventions to mitigate these negative impacts. The poverty rate is also an important tool to determine eligibility for health and human services and programs, including health and supplemental food programs, which can lessen the negative impacts of poverty. This indicator provides detailed information about the percentage and makeup of San Bernardino County families that are living in poverty. A family is defined as a group of two or more people related by birth, marriage or adoption, residing in the same housing unit.
How is San Bernardino County Doing?
The rate of families living in poverty continues to decline:
- The percentage of families living in poverty declined from 13.9% in 2016 to 12.8% in 2017.
- San Bernardino County’s rate of family poverty is higher than the state and national averages and it is the highest among the counties compared, except for Miami-Dade (13.8%).
- At 23.9% in 2017, families whose head of household does not have a high school diploma had the highest rate of poverty.
- Residents in the cities of San Bernardino and Apple Valley had
- the highest rate of families living in poverty (17.7% each),
- while Rancho Cucamonga had the lowest rate (5.3%).
Families with younger children have a higher incidence of poverty:
- Female-headed households, where there is no husband living in the house, have the highest poverty rate at 29.7%. For those female-headed households with children under 18 years of age, the poverty rate increases considerably (40.1%).
- Married-couple families (with or without children) have a lower poverty rate (7.1%). For those married-couple families with children under 18 years of age, the rate increases to 10.0%.
Poverty rates vary by ethnicity:
- Non-Hispanic families of some other race (i.e., American Indian and Alaska Native alone, some other race alone, or two or more races) have the highest rate of poverty (16.9%), while White families have the lowest rate (8.2%).
- For Latino families, 16.0% are living in poverty, compared to 14.8% of African American families and 9.2% of Asian families.
A growing number of children are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals:
- In 2017/18, 71.7% of K-12 public school students lived in families with incomes low enough to qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, up two percentage points from 69.7% in 2016/17.
- A child is eligible if his or her family’s income is below 185% of the poverty level (i.e., $46,435 for a family of four in 2018).