REVISED-HIGH POVERTY AREAS HIT HARD BY TORNADOES: 36 of 42 Counties on disaster list have above-average poverty

BIRMINGHAM – 36 of the 42 Alabama counties that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared eligible for individual disaster assistance have poverty rates higher than the national average.

“Natural disasters hit high poverty communities the hardest,” says Kristina Scott, Executive Director of the Alabama Poverty Project (APP).  “They are more vulnerable to personal injury and property damage when a storm hits, have fewer financial resources and are more likely to experience severe mental health impacts, including post-traumatic stress disorder.”

According to the US Census Bureau, 14.3 percent of Americans live below the federal poverty threshold.  The poverty threshold is determined by age and number of people in a household and was $21,954 for a two-adult, two-child household in 2009, the most recent year for which poverty data is available.

The Census Bureau also reports that 17.5 percent of Alabamians live in poverty.  Fourteen of the tornado-impacted counties have poverty rates greater than 20 percent, including Chambers (20.7 percent), Choctaw (22.8 percent), Clarke (29.1 percent), DeKalb (21.7 percent), Franklin (21.8 percent), Greene (28.4 percent), Hale (26.6 percent), Marengo (24.9 percent), Marion (21.2 percent), Monroe (23.4 percent), Perry (31 percent), Pickens (28 percent), Sumter (35.1 percent) and Winston Counties (24.9 percent).  A full list of impacted counties with key poverty data is attached.  More information is also available on the APP website at http://alabamapossible.org/datasheet/.

In their 2004 report “Poverty and Disasters in the United States,” Sociologists Alice Fothergill and Lori Peek conclude that while poor individuals are more likely to perceive hazards as risky, they are less likely to prepare for hazards or buy insurance; less likely to respond to warnings; more likely to die, suffer injuries, and have proportionately higher material losses; have more psychological trauma; and face more obstacles during the phases of response, recovery, and reconstruction.

In response to the catastrophic tornadoes, APP is compiling resources for individuals to give, volunteer and advocate for those impacted by the storms.  They are regularly updated and available at http://alabamapossible.org/tornadorelief.

About the Alabama Poverty Project:

Alabama is the sixth poorest state in the nation. The Alabama Poverty Project (APP) mobilizes Alabamians to eliminate poverty through strategic relationships with faith communities, higher education institutions and civic organizations. For information and resources, visit our website, http://alabamapossible.org.

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Poverty Rate
All Persons 1 Children 2 Seniors 2 Female Headed Households 2
United States 14.3% 20.0% 9.7% 37.1%
Alabama 17.5% 24.6% 11.8% 45.1%
Autauga 11.2% 16.2% 7.8% 28.3%
Bibb 18.1% 25.7% 12.8% 49.7%
Blount 14.6% 20.4% 12.1% 39.6%
Calhoun 19.0% 26.7% 10.6% 52.6%
Chambers 20.7% 30.2% 12.1% 44.0%
Cherokee 18.4% 28.1% 7.7% 52.8%
Chilton 18.7% 27.5% 10.0% 38.0%
Choctaw 22.8% 29.8% N/A N/A
Clarke 29.1% 37.9% 19.6% 56.2%
Colbert 16.0% 24.8% 9.2% 48.6%
Coosa 16.7% 25.4% N/A N/A
Cullman 19.3% 25.7% 13.5% 39.4%
DeKalb 21.7% 32.0% 15.5% 41.5%
Elmore 14.2% 19.2% 9.9% 29.6%
Etowah 17.2% 26.6% 12.0% 45.7%
Fayette 19.6% 26.9% N/A N/A
Franklin 21.8% 29.7% 12.6% 50.7%
Greene 28.4% 39.7% N/A N/A
Hale 26.6% 35.4% N/A N/A
Jackson 16.4% 24.3% 15.9% 38.9%
Jefferson 16.5% 22.9% 11.1% 36.2%
Lamar 18.2% 25.8% N/A N/A
Lauderdale 14.5% 21.8% 8.0% 48.9%
Lawrence 16.2% 22.9% 10.9% 44.1%
Limestone 13.5% 19.1% 11.3% 32.4%
Madison 10.3% 14.7% 6.3% 36.4%
Marengo 24.9% 32.3% 15.2% 46.4%
Marion 21.2% 30.9% 14.8% 70.5%
Marshall 19.1% 26.2% 14.2% 54.3%
Monroe 23.4% 33.2% 16.6% 67.8%
Morgan 15.9% 23.2% 12.6% 41.9%
Pickens 28.0% 34.1% N/A N/A
Perry 31.0% 48.9% N/A N/A
Shelby 6.9% 9.9% 4.9% 20.1%
St. Clair 13.8% 19.3% 10.3% 35.0%
Sumter 35.1% 42.3% N/A N/A
Talladega 18.9% 26.5% 15.3% 51.3%
Tallapoosa 17.8% 28.1% 9.2% 48.8%
Tuscaloosa 19.9% 22.6% 10.5% 47.9%
Walker 16.0% 22.9% 13.9% 49.8%
Washington 19.3% 26.5% N/A N/A
Winston 24.9% 36.4% 17.2% 53.8%
1 U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (2009)
2 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates (2007-2009)

 

 

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4 Responses to “REVISED-HIGH POVERTY AREAS HIT HARD BY TORNADOES: 36 of 42 Counties on disaster list have above-average poverty”

  1. Carol Farr says:

    Dear Kristina
    I saw you on Good Day this morning and was wondering where are the credit cards that were handed out to the
    poverty stricken areas of New Orleans during Katrina by the Federal Government? This would help these folks
    at least find and pay for a hotel room
    Thank you

  2. Lisa says:

    Hey Kristina,
    This is a great information piece and we are going to repost on our site. ARM is going to be ready especially from the rebuilding side. We will focus on rural counties in the Black Belt area initially so West Alabama is our big focus. Since we are close to Dadeville-I hope to get over that way as well and that be our other focus until we can develop strategies elsewhere. Just wanted to run that by you for now.

    thanks Kristina,
    lisa

  3. connie says:

    i feel for every one, at this time, but seams that a lot is going into the big towns and no one says or does any thing for the little towns, most of those in big towns have insurance but a lot of the rual and small towns don’t.

  4. michael mashburn says:

    we got our foodstamps on april 24,2011 we got tornados on april27,2011 we lost all of our food in the frezzer and refrigertor. and we still have not got any more benefits on our ebt card and no one has answered any of the phone calls. we live in jackson county alabama,and there cant help us with meats and vegetables all i wished they could do is put us our benefits on our card i have been donate my time to the communities in this area lost a week of work, but im not worried about that we are running out of gas for our van. for running back and forth to pisgah so we can have some meat to eat. can the federal govt step in because our state is verhy slow right now .thank

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