Hispanic and single-black-father families see declines in poverty

Although Hispanic and black families have the highest poverty rates of the major racial and ethnic minorities, the latest poverty data holds some positive news. The poverty rate for Hispanic families with children under 18 years old declined 1.6 percentage points (Figure A). Black families showed a 1.1 percentage-point decline, but this decline was not statistically significant. Non-Hispanic white and Asian American families had small increases that were not statistically significant.

By family type, for all families with children under 18 years old, only families headed by single1 fathers showed a real decline. This decline appears to be driven primarily by a large drop in the poverty rate for families headed by single black men. The poverty rate for black single-father families dropped 11.3 percentage points (Figure B). These families saw a large spike in their poverty rate from 2009 to 2010. The reversal from 2010 to 2011 returns them to their more typical poverty range.

Asian American single-father families saw a statistically-significant increase in poverty of 9.1 percentage points (Figure B). The estimates for single-father, racial-minority families are quite volatile however. This is especially the case for Asian American single-father families.

Although Hispanic and single-black-father families saw decreases in their poverty rates from 2010 to 2011, they still have very high rates of poverty. In 2011, Hispanic families with children under 18 had a poverty rate of 29.3 percent. Families with children under 18 headed by a black single-father had a poverty rate of 28.8 percent.

1. We use “single” for lack of a better term and to match the concept of a “single mother,” but these men could be divorced, separated, single and never married, or paired with a partner with whom they are not married.