Thursday, March 18, 2010

New York state poverty higher than national average

A new survey finds that the poverty rate in New York state is higher than the national average. The report was issued from the New York State Community Action Association which is a group of over 50 community action agencies. The study used data from the U.S census numbers from 2006-08, so some of the effects of the recession are not fully included in the survey.

From the Troy Record, writer Jessica M. Pasko unpacks the numbers from the report.

More than 2.6 million New Yorkers live in poverty, including 852,000 children. That makes for a poverty rate of 13.8 percent, slightly higher than the national rate of 13.2 percent. The city of Buffalo was ranked as the third poorest city in the U.S., with close to 30 percent of the population there living in property. The poverty rate is defined as the percentage of the population living in households below or at the federal poverty line.

In the breakdown by county, Rensselaer County has a 10.1 percent poverty rate, compared to 12 percent in Albany County, 10.8 percent in Schenectady and just 6.9 percent in Saratoga County.

The city of Troy has a much higher poverty rate, with 21.4 percent or about 9,520 individuals living in poverty, including nearly 3,200 children.

New to the report this year is data highlighting the plight of the working poor and families headed by single women.

Nearly 50 percent of all families in poverty statewide are headed by single women with children, and 70 percent of Troy’s poor families are headed by single mothers.

The report also found that a major issue continues to be what’s called working poor – those employed but still living in poverty. Close to 28 percent of those living in poverty are employed, and the state’s unemployment rate reached nine percent in December.

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