Economic Well-Being of Granite State children

NH Kids CountEconomic Well-Being of Granite State children

Child Poverty by County 

In New Hampshire, nearly 1 in 15 children live in poverty. 


  • Child poverty refers to the share of children under age 18 who live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. Compared to other states, New Hampshire has a high median household income and a low official poverty rate. Yet in 2021, more than 1 in 6 Granite State households brought in less than $35,000 per year (NHFPI).
  • In Coos County, nearly 1 in 10 children live in extreme poverty, meaning they live in households earning less than 50% of the federal poverty level. For a family of two adults and two children, this means the family brings in $13,739 or less per year. Carroll County has the lowest percentage of children. The under 18 population in Carroll equals 15% of the total county population.
  • Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development. Poverty and financial stress can impede children’s cognitive development and their ability to learn. It can contribute to behavioral, social and emotional problems and poor health. (AECF)

Spotlight on Prevention

The toxic stress from growing up in poverty can change how the brain develops. Poverty is consider an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). Per the CDC, ACEs have been linked to chronic health problems, mental illness and substance misuse in adulthood.


Income gaps affect children being raised by single parents statewide. 

  • In New Hampshire, the median income for a household with children is $108,126, but this varies widely by county and by household type. Family income is lowest in Coos county at $74,679 and highest in Rockingham county at $131,377. Statewide, families with single fathers have an average household incomes of $62,054, which is 43% more than the average family income of single mothers ($39,964).
  • Poverty thresholds do not account for living costs beyond a very basic food budget, meaning housing, health care, child care, utilities, transportation and other costs are not considered. Due to high cost-of-living in New Hampshire, the average salary needed to meet basic needs in a one-adult, two-child family is $88,506 - yet there is no county tn ihe state where the average annual income for a single parent meets this threshold.
  • Since 2016, income has risen considerably for all families and families with single dads, while it has remained largely stagnant for single mothers. In 2016, the statewide average family income was $83,713 and increased by nearly $25,000 over the next five years. However, in the same five-year period, the statewide average income for a family with a single mother increased by only $8,687, reaching $39,964 in 2021 - less than half of the income needed to meet basic needs.

Access to Child Care

14 percent of New Hampshire parents of children under five say they or someone in the family had to quit, not take a job, or greatly change their job in the last 12 months because of problems with child care. 


Studies show children who grow up in owned homes have better outcomes than those in rented homes.

  • 26.7 percent of NH families rent their home. Many of those families are 'cost-burdened' due to the soaring costs of home rentals. Renter households spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs and utilities are cost-burdened; those spending more than half of their income are severely cost-burdened.  A minimum wage earner ($7.25 hour) would have to work 127 HOURS per week to afford a modest 1 bedroom rental home in New Hampshire.
  • Rising rental prices are associated with an increase in homelessness. Studies show that a $100 increase in median rent is associated with a 9% increase in the estimated homelessness rate. In New Hampshire, an estimated 1,254 families with children in NH suffer homelessness.
  • Children born into homelessness are more likely to have low birth weights and are at greater risk of death. Homelessness also exposes infants to environmental factors that can endanger their health. Because homeless families often have little access to health care, many homeless infants lack essential immunizations.

Housing Affordability

In June 2023, the median home sale price was $466,400 - a 7.9 percent increase over June 2022. The same time period also saw a 27.2 percent decrease in homes on the market. In turn, this has put pressure on the rental market, creating a statewide 0.6 percent vacancy rate with a median rent of $1,764 for a two-bedroom unit.


For families to thrive, we must remove barriers that hinder parents' abilities to work. 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected unemployment rates in New Hampshire, bringing them equal to or surpassing 2015 unemployment levels in nine out of 10 counties in the state. People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks, and are currently available for work.
  • Approximately 7,000 New Hampshire children live in households where no adults work, including 4,000 children under the age of six. Sixteen percent of single mothers are currently unemployed, further highlighting the need for accessible child care.
  • 21,670 children experience food insecurity in New Hampshire. Food insecurity is defined as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is associated with numerous adverse social and health outcomes and is driven by unemployment, poverty, and income shocks.

Food Insecurity

18 percent of families who qualify for SNAP benefits are not enrolled in the program, highlighting the need for Medicaid Direct Certification for school lunches so kids can receive at least two healthy meals per day.


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