Poverty in Alabama affects almost one million people - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Poverty in Alabama affects almost one million people

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Every state has its poor. Some just have more than others. Alabama falls into the latter category. According to Alabama Possible, a statewide nonprofit organization working to reduce systemic poverty and its root causes across the state, Alabama is the nation's seventh poorest state. The report finds nearly 900,000 Alabamians, including 300,000 children live in poverty.

An individual is considered living in poverty if the household fails to earn enough to meet basic food, clothing and shelter needs. To put a dollar figure to it, a family of four must earn at least $23,850 to live above the poverty line. The only states with a higher percentage of people living in poverty than Alabama include, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico.

In Alabama, only eight of the state's 67 counties have a poverty rate less than the national average of 15.9 percent. Another eight counties statewide have a poverty rate more than double the national average. Dallas county has the highest percentage of people living in poverty with 36.8%. By contrast, Shelby county has the lowest number living in poverty at just 8.7%. Shelby county is the only county in Alabama where the percent of those living in poverty is below 10%.

Twenty-one counties make up the ABC 33/40 viewing area. Twelve of those counties have a poverty level at or above 20%. Only Shelby county and St. Clair (15.8%) county are at or below the national poverty level.
 
In January, during his State of the State address, Governor Robert Bentley acknowledged Alabama is one of the poorest states in the nation. He said, "...one in four children live in poverty. Nearly one million of our fellow Alabamians are dependent on food stamps."

The latest report from Alabama Possible is based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alabama Department of Public Health Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The numbers differ from a report released in January by the Kaiser Foundation that ranked Alabama as having the 15th highest poverty rate.
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