MEDIA RELEASE: Report reveals that 1 in 4 African Americans and nearly 1 in 5 women are in poverty in North Carolina

Deeper analysis of new Census data on poverty and income show wide disparities in poverty across the state and includes local county data


Raleigh, NC—A report released today by NC Justice Center analysts takes a deeper look at yesterday’s new Census data on poverty and income and reveals higher poverty for African Americans, Latinos, and women in North Carolina.
“The new Census data shows that not only has poverty jumped overall in North Carolina as a result of the Great Recession but that certain communities are experiencing even more alarming levels of poverty in our state,” said Louisa Warren, Senior Policy Advocate with the NC Justice Center. “The fact that 1 in 4 African Americans, nearly 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 6 North Carolinians overall are in poverty demands a policy response from our state leaders.”
Along with demographic disparities in poverty in North Carolina, the report also analyzes the U.S. Census’ 2009 American Community Survey for comparisons with the rest of the country. North Carolina ranks high in the country for poverty, with the Tar Heel state ranked 14th in the highest overall poverty rate and 13th for the highest child poverty rate. 
As a result of rising unemployment rates and declining hours, median household income in North Carolina dropped to $43,674 in 2009, positioning the state has having the 38th lowest median income in the country, with its Southern neighbors Virginia, Georgia, and Florida all boasting higher median incomes. 
County Data on Poverty & Income
The Census data also includes local county data, including poverty and median household income among the 37 North Carolina counties and Justice Center analysts also took a deeper look at these numbers. Local county data, including the unemployment rate and food stamp participation rates can be found here:
The local county poverty data shows that urban counties experienced higher rates of poverty overall than rural counties, although individual rural counties account for the highest poverty rates in the state. 
“The good news amidst this grim data is that North Carolina doesn’t have to continue down this road towards deep and abiding poverty--we are not lacking for solutions to build economic prosperity for all North Carolinians,” concluded Louisa Warren with the NC Justice Center. “To start, state leaders can begin to tackle poverty and the impacts of the Great Recession by maintaining and building upon our public investments and taking a balanced approach to the upcoming state budget shortfall. That means raising adequate revenue to keep vital services that are a lifeline to families in these hard times.”
The full report released today can be found at:
Louisa Warren, Senior Policy Advocate, NC Justice Center (919) 801-0465;
Jeff Shaw, Communications Director, NC Justice Center, (919) 863-2402.