Welcome to DoSomething.org, a global movement of 6 million young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, Do Something! Find out how to take action here.

  1. What is the "Poverty Line," anyway? According to the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau, it is a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children under 18) that earns less than $23,021.
  2. More than 30 million children are growing up in poverty. In one low-income community, there was only one book for every 300 children. You can improve literacy rates by running a competitive book drive for low-income areas. Sign up for Stacks on Stacks.
  3. In 2011, nearly 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty.
  4. Children living in poverty have a higher number of absenteeism or leave school all together because they are more likely to have to work or care for family members.
  5. Dropout rates of 16 to 24-years-old students who come from low income families are seven times more likely to drop out than those from families with higher incomes.

Tackle a campaign to make the world suck less.

Explore Campaigns
  1. A higher percentage of young adults (31%) without a high school diploma live in poverty, compared to the 24% of young people who finished high school.
  2. 40% of children living in poverty aren’t prepared for primary schooling.
  3. Children that live below the poverty line are 1.3 times more likely to have developmental delays or learning disabilities than those who don’t live in poverty.
  4. By the end of the 4th grade, African-American, Hispanic and low-income students are already 2 years behind grade level. By the time they reach the 12th grade they are 4 years behind.
  5. In 2013, the dropout rate for students in the nation was at 8% for African American youth, 7% for Hispanic youth, and 4% for Asian youth, which are all higher than the dropout rate for Caucasian youth (4%).
  6. Less than 30% of students in the bottom quarter of incomes enroll in a 4 year school. Among that group – less than 50% graduate.


  • 1

    United States Census Bureau. "Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011." United States Census Bureau. Accessed February 18, 2015. .

  • 2

    Addy, Sophia, William Engelhardt, and Curtis Skinner. "Basic Facts About Low-income Children, Children Under 18 Years, 2011." NCCP. Accessed February 18, 2015. .

  • 3

    Tavernise, Sabrina. "Poverty Rate Soars to Highest Level Since 1993." The New York Times. Accessed March 1, 2014. .

  • 4

    Broadhurst, Karen, Paton, Helen and May-Chahal Corinne. "Children missing from school systems: exploring divergent patterns of disengagement in the narrative accounts of parents, carers, children and young people." British Journal of Sociology of Education. 26.1 (2005):105-119. Web. Accessed February 18, 2015.

  • 5

    KewalRamani, Angelina, Jennifer Laird, Nicole Ifill, and Chris Chapman. "Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2009." National Center for Educational Statics. Accessed March 1, 2014, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012006.pdf.

  • 6

    Aud, Susan, Angelina KewalRamani, and Lauren Frohlich. "America’s Youth: Transitions to Adulthood." National Center for Educational Statistics. Accessed March 14, 2001, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012026.pdf.

  • 7

    Save Our Schools, Inc. "Poverty; The Effect on the Whole Child." Save Our Schools March. Accessed March 1, 2014, http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/issues/poverty-and-the-effect-on-education/poverty-the-effect-on-the-whole-child/.

  • 8

    Currie, Janet. "Poverty Among Inner-City Children." Princeton Publications. Accessed March 1, 2014. .

  • 9

    US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. NAEP 1999 Trends in Academic Progress (p. 107) Washington, DC: US Department of Education, Accessed March 1, 2014. .

  • 10

    Fry, Richard. "U.S. high school dropout rate reaches record low, driven by improvements among Hispanics, blacks." Pew Research Center. Accessed February 18, 2015. .

  • 11

    Deparle, Jason. "For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall." The New York Times. Accessed March 1, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/education/poor-students-struggle-as-class-plays-a-greater-role-in-success.html?pagewanted=all.

Tackle a campaign to make the world suck less.

Explore Campaigns