Thursday, February 16, 2017

Paper reveals its county, home to a big university, is high in poverty and low in upward mobility

Greg Townshend, recently released from prison,
found work in Boone County through a statewide
program for at-risk youth. (Daily Tribune photo)
The Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Mo., has published a series examining poverty in surrounding Boone County, which it says is "one of the worst counties in the country for socioeconomic mobility," which measures an individual's upward or downward movement on the economic ladder.

"Data show that if you’re born into poverty in Boone County, you’re more likely to die in poverty than in most other counties," Jodie Jackson Jr. reports in a story that looks at a job skills program that helps people earn a living wage.

Stories in the "Left Behind" series look at how Boone County residents face obstacles in getting access to health care, finding affordable housing, moving up the economic ladder, being able to afford to have children, the link between crime and poverty and how expanding Medicaid could benefit the poor in the county and the rest of Missouri.

"Children who live in low-income households in Boone County face challenges moving up the income ladder, according to a 2015 national study conducted by Harvard University researchers," Brittany Ruess reports in a story that looks at the county's lack of economic mobility. "The study shows that Boone County has the second-worst economic mobility in Missouri and is better than only 17 percent of counties in the country."

The Tribune, which the Waters family recently sold to Gatehouse Media, also is trying to get readers involved in the series by asking them to share their stories through social media or email.

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