Alabama is the sixth poorest state in the United States, according to a new report by an Alabama nonprofit.
About 18.5 percent of Alabamians live below the federal poverty line, but the percentage varies widely by county. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Black Belt counties have the highest rates of poverty while metro areas have the lowest. "Poverty is not a state of mind; it's a complex series of barriers that hardworking people have to overcome every day," said Kristina Scott, executive director of Alabama Possible, the statewide nonprofit that released the report. "Although Alabama's overall poverty rate slightly declined, we still have work to do," she said in a statement. Last year , Alabama ranked as fourth-poorest state in the nation.
In Perry County, 40 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty line, the highest of any county in the state. At the other end of the spectrum is Shelby County, where the poverty rate is 8.5 percent.
Fourteen of Alabama's 67 counties - all of them in the Black Belt - have a poverty rate higher than 25 percent.
This is despite Alabama's labor force being the largest it's been in five years , as former Gov. Robert Bentley noted in his 2017 State of the State address. He also called out Alabama's "persistent poverty" as an issue that needs addressing.
What is the poverty level? For a family of four, it's $24,257 per year or less. For two people, it's $15,391 per year or less.
The poverty rate for Hispanic or Latino Alabamians is highest, at nearly 34 percent, compared with 31 percent for blacks and 14 percent for whites.
Alabama's median household income of $44,833 is nearly $11,000 less than the national median of $55,775.
The difference grows starker when comparing black and white households, however. According to the report, white Alabamians earn $50,402 a year on average, compared with black Alabamians' average of $29,180.
More than a quarter of Alabama children live in poverty. 😕
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