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Poverty drops slightly for Hispanics and children, but overall rate holds steady




Blanca Ruiz holds her 3-year-old nephew, Keneth, in her El Monte home on Tuesday, April 29.
Blanca Ruiz holds her 3-year-old nephew, Keneth, in her El Monte home on Tuesday, April 29.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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Latino families' household income has increased slightly — leading to lower poverty rates for the group.

"Hispanics were the only group among the major race and ethnic groups to experience a statistically significant change in their poverty rate and the number of people in poverty," according to findings from the Census Bureau's annual income and poverty report released today.

The report also found that child poverty rates have declined for the first time since 2000 to 19.9 percent from 21.8 percent in 2012.

"We still have nearly 1 in 5 kids living in poverty, so [child poverty] is still a concern," says Marybeth Mattingly, research director at the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford University. "It's concerning because those kids aren't evenly distributed and a lot of them live in very poor places where there are very few resources to deal with such poverty."

But, the broader economic picture is mixed with about 45 million Americans still living in poverty — a number that has held steady for the past few years. In Los Angeles, the poverty rate rose to nearly 27 percent when factors such as the high cost of living were taken into account, says Mattingly.

A separate report from the Center also found that wealth inequality continued to increase in recent years. 

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013