Press Release: More Than One-Third of Alabamians Live in Concentrated Poverty Areas

July 3rd, 2014

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 10.41.48 AM


For Immediate Release:                                            Contact: Kristina Scott
July 2, 2014                                                                                205-939-1408

More Than One-Third of Alabamians Live in Concentrated Poverty Areas

BIRMINGHAM —More than one-third of Alabamians live in concentrated “poverty areas”, according to research this week released by the Census Bureau. Poverty areas are census tracts which have a 20 percent poverty or higher.

Alabama is the nation’s seventh poorest state, and 19 percent, or nearly 900,000 Alabamians, live below the federal poverty line. More than 60 percent of those individuals live in poverty-dense census tracts.

“Being poor in a poor neighborhood means that residents have costs and limitations above and beyond those faced by any one individual or family,” said Alabama Possible Executive Director Kristina Scott. “Concentrated poverty is linked with reduced educational and employment opportunities, higher crime rates, poor health outcomes, and hindered asset building. In today’s interconnected society, that negatively impacts all of us.”

Alabama has become increasingly economically homogenous over the past two decades. In 2000, 25 percent of Alabamians lived in poverty areas, and the percent of poor people who live in poverty areas was 50 percent.

Whites saw the largest percentage point increase amongst racial or ethnic groups living in poverty areas regardless of income, from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 20.3 percent in 2010. African Americans continue to be most likely to live in poverty areas regardless of income, with 50 percent of all individuals living in poverty areas.

Concentrated poverty is also increasingly suburban or rural. While in 2000, 58 percent of people living in “poverty areas” lived in central city census tracts, in 2010 nearly half of the nation’s population living in “poverty areas” reside in suburban and rural areas.

“The changing nature of concentrated poverty challenges our perceptions. It also makes it more challenging to reverse. The needs of rural and urban communities are very different, and it is more difficult to build and sustain the responsive economic base necessary for recovery,” said Scott.

The full Census Bureau report, Changes in Areas with Concentrated Poverty: 2000 to 2010, is available online.

Additional data about poverty in Alabama is available at http://www.alabamapossible.org/datasheet

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. 

-END-

 

Do you know a hungry child?

June 18th, 2014

Summer feeding sites are open all over Alabama to serve free meals to children under 18, without proof of need. Alabama Possible published a map and sortable database with feeding locations, meals served, dates open, and phone numbers on its webpage at www.alabamapossible.org/summerfeeding. Summer is a particularly vulnerable time for the 436,279 Alabama students who participated in free or reduced lunch during the 2013-2014 school year. Many kids run the risk of missing meals without the guarantee of in-school breakfast and lunch. To address this need, there are more than 700 summer feeding sites across the state this year.

Alabama served kids 385,547 more meals at more than 100 new summer feeding sites during 2013. Summer feeding expansion is a initiative of the  End Child Hunger in Alabama campaign. Over the past year, Alabama Possible has collaborated with the Alabama State Department of Education, regional food banks, and the USDA through the task force. The resulting 30 percent boost in meals served was the biggest in the Southeast, and it moves Alabama closer to the national goal of 40 percent participation.

Alabama served a total of 1,650,652 meals during the summer of 2013. This compares to 1,265,105 in 2012. This moved Alabama up in the national participation rankings to 43rd, compared to 47th in 2012, according to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) report “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation.” Children under 18 are eligible to eat for free at these summer feeding sites. Most of the sites serve lunch, but some also serve breakfast and dinner. Different locations have different meal times. Additionally, some feeding sites make meals available for purchase by parents and accompanying adults at a low price.   2014 Summer Feeding Map To locate the summer feeding site nearest you, check out our map or text ‘FOOD’ to 877-877.

2014 Blueprints College Access Initiative Impact Report

May 8th, 2014

We just finished our 2014 College Access Initiative Impact Report.  Here it is:

 

2014 Blueprints Impact Report

Nearly 900,000 Alabamians, 300,000 Children, Live in Poverty

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,” said Kristina 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.