September 13th, 2012

Despite news published across the state claiming that Alabama’s poverty rate dropped from 17.2 percent in 2010 to 15.4 percent in 2011, the available data is not conclusive.  The Census data released yesterday, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011, reported that poverty nationwide remained static at 15 percent.

In addition, new tables show that the percentage of Alabamians living in poverty increased from 15.4 percent to 16.3 percent from 2008 to 2011. Another table showing average state-by-state poverty rates from 2009 to 2011 has Alabama at a 16.4 percent.

The Census Bureau will release results from the 2011 American Community Survey on Thursday, September 20, with reliable one-year state-specific poverty estimates.

Yesterday’s report did confirm a harsh reality – children are more impoverished than any other segment of the population. Nationally, 21.9 percent of children under age 18, 25.1 percent under age 5, and 47.6 percent of related children with a female householder live below the poverty line.

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.

Want to learn more about yesterday’s poverty data release? Check out the 5 Things You Need to Know About the 2011 Poverty Data.