In 2019, fewer Missouri children lived in households with incomes below the federal poverty line than at any point in the prior decade. During the years of recovery from the Great Recession, the number of Missouri’s kids who lived in poverty fell to less than one in five and sat at 17% in 2019, according to the 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book. The 50-state report shares recent household data developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and provides analysis on how families have fared between 2010 and the COVID-19 crisis. This year’s Data Book shows nearly a decade of progress could be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic unless policymakers act boldly to sustain the beginnings of a recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Annually, the KIDS COUNT® Data Book tracks 16 indicators measuring four domains — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community to assess child well-being. The KIDS COUNT data and rankings represent the most recent information available but do not capture the impact of the past year:

  • 352,000 children lived in households where no parent had year-round, full-time employment.• ECONOMIC WELL-BEING: In 2019, approximately 229,000 Missouri children lived in households with an income below the poverty line, and
  • EDUCATION: During the three-year period between 2017 and 2019, 54% of 3- and 4-year-olds were not in preschool. However, compared with other states, Missouri students graduate from high school at high rates and on time (ranked 6th).
  • AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: In 2019, an estimated 95,000 children did not have public or private health insurance.
  • FAMILY AND COMMUNITY CONTEXT: In 2019, 430,000 Missouri kids lived in single-parent households.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey gauged the impact of the pandemic throughout 2020 and 2021. In March 2021, nearly 43% of Missouri households with children reported losing some employment income and as many as 32% of those households had trouble paying for usual household expenses. Among adults with young children surveyed by Washington University in St. Louis, one-third said that they are now less likely to return to work due to a lack of childcare.

Investing in children, families and communities is a priority to ensure an equitable and expansive recovery. Several of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s suggestions have already been enacted in the American Rescue Plan, and additional recommendations include:

  • Congress should make the expansion of the child tax credit permanent.
  • State and local governments should prioritize the recovery of hard-hit communities of color.
  • States should expand income support that helps families care for their children.
  • States that have not done so should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  • States should strengthen public schools and pathways to postsecondary education and training.

Release Information
The 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book will be available June 21 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at Additional information is available at Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at

About the Family and Community Trust (FACT)
FACT is Missouri’s KIDS COUNT affiliate. It is the state level, private/public organization that governs a network of 20 Community Partnerships focused on achieving better results for children and families. To read data informed stories and access specific data and information about the well being of children in your state visit To access the data tool, visit To download the mobile app, search Missouri KIDS COUNT on iOS and Android.
About the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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