September 20th, 2012

Child Poverty Also Flat at 27.6 percent

BIRMINGHAM – Contrary to reports prematurely circulated last week, poverty in Alabama remained flat at 19 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates released today by the US Census Bureau.

Alabamians did see a small spike in median household income, which increased from $40,474 in 2010 to $41,415 in 2011, a gain of $941.

“Alabamians have suffered during this recession. I am glad to see that poverty has leveled off and that Alabama families are seeing some gains in household income,” said Kristina Scott, executive director of the Alabama Poverty Project.

Alabama is tied with Arizona for the seventh highest rate of poverty amongst the 50 states, according to ACS estimates.  States ranking higher than Alabama are Mississippi (22.6 percent), New Mexico (21.5 percent), Louisiana (20.4 percent), Arkansas (19.5 percent), Kentucky (19.1 percent) and Georgia (also 19.1 percent).

Children continue to be more impoverished than any other segment of the population. In 2011, 27.6 percent of Alabama’s children lived in poverty, as compared to 21.9 percent of children nationwide.

According to the Center for American Progress, this level of child poverty today cripples our long-term economic competitiveness. Research has proven that childhood poverty impacts an individual’s educational outcomes, worker productivity, and even long-term healthcare costs.

“I urge Alabamians to learn about why more than 1 in 4 children live in poor families and to engage in solutions. Our future depends on it,” said Scott.

The 2011 poverty threshold is $17,916 per year for a family of three and $23,021 per year for a family of four.

The data also emphasizes the link between educational attainment and income. The median individual income for Alabama working age adults with a bachelors degree was $44,800, while the median individual income for those with just a high school diploma was $25,069.

“Educational attainment is the single biggest predictor of economic well-being. Alabama is making great strides in improving outcomes for our primary and secondary students.  However, postsecondary education is essential for long-term economic well being,” said Scott.

Detailed charts are available here.


The Alabama Poverty Project (APP) is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing systemic poverty and its root causes across Alabama. APP educates Alabamians about poverty, motivates colleges and faith-based institutions to engage in poverty-reduction activities and advocates for fact-based policy decisions. APP was founded in 1993 and is based in Birmingham, AL. For more information visit www.alabamapossible.org.



Starting in 2006, the Census Bureau began releasing annual estimates of income and poverty for all places, counties, and metropolitan areas with a population of at least 65,000 as well as the nation and the states. Estimates based on a single year of ACS data are available only for areas with total populations of at least 65,000.