April 21st, 2014

Alabama is the nation’s seventh poorest stateNearly 900,000 Alabamians, including 300,000 children, live in poverty according to a new analysis released today by Alabama Possible, a statewide nonprofit organization that works to reduce systemic poverty and its root causes across the state.

The statewide research is included in Alabama Possible’s 2014 Data Sheet. This annual report provides a statewide and county-by-county snapshot of poverty in the state, including the percent of Alabamians living in poverty by race, household type, region, and education level. An individual is considered living in poverty if one’s household fails to earn enough annually to meet one’s basic food, clothing, and shelter needs. In the United States, a family of four must earn at least $23,850 in order to be considered living above the poverty line.

According to the Alabama Possible analysis, Alabama is the seventh poorest state in the nation. Only Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico have a higher percentage of its residents living in poverty than Alabama.

“Understanding the facts about poverty can help communities make decisions about what public and private anti-poverty initiatives are needed to help families in their area break the cycle of poverty,” saidKristina Scott, the executive director of Alabama Possible. “We hope that Alabamians will use this data sheet to discuss job creation, consider legislative policy, or lead a class or Sunday school discussion.”

According to Alabama Possible’s analysis, only eight of the state’s 67 counties have a poverty rate less than the national average of 15.9 percent. An equal number of counties statewide have a poverty rate greater than double the national average.

Dallas County has the highest percentage of individuals living in poverty (36.8 percent), while Shelby County has the lowest amount (8.7 percent). Shelby County is also the only county in Alabama where the percent of those living poverty is below 10 percent.

The 2014 Data Sheet also shares the percent of Alabamians who are unemployed, a breakdown of the state’s median household incomes, as well as the percentage of Alabamians who are obese, live with diabetes, participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and whose children receive free or reduced lunches at school.

You can download the 2014 Data Sheet via the Alabama Possible website,http://alabamapossible.org/datasheet/.

The Alabama Possible Poverty Data Sheet is based on information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Alabama Department of Public Health Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Alabama Possible is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing systematic poverty and its root cause across Alabama. AP educates Alabamians about poverty, collaborates with colleges and faith-based institutions on poverty-reduction activities and advocates for fact-based policy decisions. AP was founded in 1993 and is based in Birmingham, Al. For more information visit www.alabamapossible.org.