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Family Economic Security Profile

 OverviewWork Attachment and Advancement

State policies that promote the economic security of our nation’s families can help offset larger economic and social conditions that make it difficult for families to get by and get ahead. This four-part profile provides data on Washington’s low-income children and families and highlights state policy choices regarding families’ work attachment and advancement, income adequacy, and asset development.

In Washington, there are 826,871 families, with 1,535,738 children. Among these children, 38 percent live in families that are low-income, defined as income below twice the federal poverty level (nationally, 45 percent of children live in low-income families). Young children are particularly likely to live in low-income families.

Low wages and a lack of higher education contribute to families having insufficient incomes. Nationally, 48 percent of low-income children have at least one parent who works full-time, year-round; in Washington, the figure is 45 percent.

Parents without a college education often struggle to earn enough to support a family, but only 30 percent of adults in Washington have a bachelor’s degree. A substantial portion of children in Washington whose parents only have a high school diploma—58 percent—are low income.

Children of foreign-born parents are also more likely to be low income than children of native-born parents.

Children in Washington
by income level, 2011

Children in Washington by income level, 20111

Employment status of parents of low-income children, 2011

Employment status of parents of low-income children, 20111


Percent of children who are low-income
by parental education, 2011

Percent of children who are low-income by parental education, 20111

Percent of children who are low-income by parents' nativity, 2011

Percent of children who are low-income by parents' nativity, 20111


Learn more about Washington’s children.

 Work Attachment and Advancement

Data Notes and Sources

Data were compiled from 50-state sources. Some state policy decisions may have changed since these data were collected.

  1. National data were calculated from the 2011 American Community Survey, representing information from 2011. State data were calculated from the 2009-2011 American Community Survey, representing information from the years 2009 to 2011.