Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Poverty rates have dropped since War on Poverty declared, but poorest states then still poorest now

In 1959, the average poverty rate among U.S. states was 24 percent, with the 1960 U.S. Census rating Mississippi highest at 54.5 percent, Arkansas at 47.5 percent, South Carolina at 45.4 percent, and 15 other states, many of them in the South, at 30 percent or higher. President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty helped lower the national average to 14.3 by 2012, but the states that were the poorest in 1959 are still the poorest now, and are hampered by the same problems, Jake Grovum reports for Stateline. Mississippi remains at the top of the list, with a poverty rate of 22 percent, and Arkansas is at 20.1 percent. (Stateline map; to view the interactive, year-by-year version click here)
"Experts say that in some regions, the same factors that caused poverty decades ago persist today," Grovum writes. "Among them are a less-educated workforce, lower rates of health insurance, low participation rates in safety-net programs and long distances to major cities and metropolitan areas with plentiful jobs." James P. Ziliak, director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky, whose research has found 11 percent of all U.S. counties have had persistently high poverty rates (defined as 20 percent or higher) for decades, many in the South, told Grovum, "You have these persistently poor regions. There has been some catch-up over the decades. It just hasn’t been enough.”

Other states with poverty rates above the national average: Louisiana, 21.2 percent; New Mexico, 20.4 percent; Arizona, 19 percent; Tennessee, 18.6 percent; Georgia, 18.1 percent; Oklahoma, 18 percent; Kentucky, 17.9 percent; North Carolina, 17.2 percent; New York, 17.2 percent; Texas, 17 percent; West Virginia, 16.7 percent; South Carolina, 16.7 percent; Alabama, 16. 2 percent; California, 15.9 percent; Nevada, 15.8 percent; Ohio, 15.4 percent; Florida, 15.3 percent; Indiana, 15.2 percent; Missouri, 15.2 percent; and Idaho, 14.4 percent. (Read more) (For an interactive map on how people actually experience poverty click here)

No comments: