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Poverty rate improves a bit across N.C.

Poverty rate improves a bit across N.C.
September 21
09:17 2017

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau released on Sept. 14, more than 1.5 million of 10,146,788 North Carolinians still languish in poverty with lack of access to good well-paying employment, inadequate education or skills training, affordable and decent housing, limited access to public transportation, and other important resources to lift themselves and their families out of their dire condition.

Though, according to analysts, there have been small improvements to their condition between 2015 and 2016, 15.4 percent of North Carolinians lived in poverty in 2016, making less than $24, 600 a year for a family of four.

Specific numbers of North Carolinians living in poverty by race were not available at press time Tuesday, though it is known that 23.5 percent of African-Americans statewide live below the official poverty line of $24,600 for a family of four.

In Forsyth County, according to those U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 18.1 percent of its 371,511 residents were living in poverty as of July 1, 2016. Blacks are 27.4 percent of the county’s total population.

The median household income between 2011 and 2015 was $45,471. Per capita income per the last 12 months was just $26,674 by 2015 standards.

Guilford County, by comparison, had 15.7 percent of its 521,330 residents living in poverty as of July 1, 2016. Approximately 34.6 percent of Guilford’s population is African-American, compared to 22.2 percent statewide.

Median household income (in 2015 dollars) in Guilford County between 2011-2015 was  $45,651. Per capita income in the prior 12 months was $26,762.

On the coast, New Hanover County saw 17.3 percent of its 223.483 population in poverty by July, 2016. African-Americans comprised just 14.2 percent.

Median household income (in 2015 dollars) between 2011-2015 was $50,088, and per capita income in the 12 months prior $29,880.

Finally, in Durham County, 17.1 percent of its 306,212 residents were in poverty by July 1, 2016. Blacks were 38.3 percent of the total population.

In 2015 dollars, median household income between 2011-2015 in Durham County was $52,503, and per capita per the preceding 12 months was $30,268.

According to the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, a progressive arm of the nonpartisan N.C. Justice Center in Raleigh, North Carolina’s poverty rate is 1.4 percentage point higher than the national, and has the 13th highest in the nation; North Carolina’s poverty rate did decline by one point over the past year, but is 1.1 percent higher than when the Great recession hit in 2007; 6.7 percent of North Carolinians live in extreme poverty, below less than half the poverty line of bout $12,300 a year for a family of four.

In order to grow a stronger and more inclusive economy for all of North Carolina, lawmakers must boost public investments to connect people to good-paying jobs, health care and education from early childhood to throughout their careers, said Alexandra Sirota, director of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center.

State of the Winston-Salem community presentation scheduled for Sept. 26

The third annual State of the Community presentation, a community update by leaders in local government, schools, arts, business and more, will be presented at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at HanesBrands Theatre, 209 N. Spruce St.

Speaking will be Mayor Allen Joines; Bob Leak, president of Winston-Salem Business Inc.; Gayle Anderson, president of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce; Evan Raleigh, director of the Office of Business Inclusion and Advancement with the city of Winston-Salem; Jim Sparrow, president of the Arts Council Inc.; and Beverly Emory, superintendent of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

The State of the Community will provide a status report on each of the goals established at the initial State of the Community presentation in 2015.

This year’s event will include an in-depth presentation on the newly created Poverty Reduction Initiative.

The event is scheduled to last an hour and 15 minutes. No advance registration is required.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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