During that same time, 25.8 percent of children in Alabama lived in households below the poverty line.
The poverty threshold measures household income to determine who lives in poverty. In 2009, the poverty line was $22,050/year for a family of 4, or $10, 830 for an individual.
The numbers of people living in poverty have increased due to unemployment and the recession, says Kristina Scott, executive director of the Alabama Poverty Project. The numbers of the working poor have grown, while the middle class is shrinking.
This trend is evident in the statistics of those subsisting just above the poverty line. 23.9 percent of Alabamians live at or below 125 percent of poverty, and 30.6 percent of Alabamians live below 150 percent of poverty. This means that nearly 1 in 3 of our neighbors in 2009 made the equivalent of less than $33,075 for a household of four.
Single mothers have also struggled during the recession. A staggering 51.2 percent of single female-headed households with related children lived below the federal poverty line. 68.8 percent of single-female-headed households with children lived at only 150 percent of the poverty line during the same time.
Food banks and food assistance programs have reported a dramatic increase in first-time visitors and working families who seek aid, while applications for TANF and food stamps have increased dramatically during the recession.
At the same time, Alabama has weathered the recession better than some of our neighbors, and over the past 10 years we have made significant steps to reduce poverty.
What can you do?
- Support economic development efforts. Job loss is the number one factor in increasing poverty rates.
- Advocate for policies that offer temporary assistance, as well as policies to create more jobs
- Help struggling friends and neighbors through trying times. Strong relationships are key to rising out of poverty.
- Donate to support local assistance programs providing immediate relief
- Support college access and educational attainment for Alabama students. An educated populace is our number one economic development strategy.
- Promote sustainable and healthy solutions to hunger and food insecurity. Attend our 2010 Food Summit to learn more
- Invest in long-term relationships with those you serve through ministry. Attend our Alabama Possible Summit to learn more.
- Have hope. Look at the positive changes going on in your community and remember what is possible
Posted by Robyn Hyden