More Than 18% Of Alabamians Live In Poverty, According To Report

Special to the Times

Nearly 900,000 Alabamians, or 18.5 percent of those in the state, live below the federal poverty line, according to a report released last week by Alabama Possible, a statewide nonprofit organization that removes barriers to prosperity.

Alabama’s poverty rate is higher than the national average of 14.7 percent.

The 2017 Alabama Poverty Data Sheet highlights statewide poverty rates and data related to educational attainment, employment and food security. Alabama Possible publishes the report on an annual basis.

“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. “Although Alabama’s overall poverty rate slightly declined, we still have work to do. Tens of thousands of people no longer receive SNAP benefits, and our median household income is nearly $11,000 less than the national median.”

SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides aid to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Alabama is the sixth poorest state in the U.S., and 18.5 percent of Alabamians live below the federal poverty line – a noticeably larger percentage than the national average of 14.7 percent. The federal poverty line is $24,257 for a family of four.
  • At a county level, 14 of Alabama’s 67 counties have a poverty rate higher than 25 percent. Nine counties have a poverty rate higher than 30 percent.
  • In Alabama, 26.5 percent of children live in poverty. Also, the overall child food insecurity rate is 24.1 percent, which is higher than the national average of 17.9 percent.
  • Alabama’s median household income is $44,833, which is nearly $11,000 less than the national median of $55,775. Also, African American households in Alabama earn far less than white households. According to the data, white Alabamians earn $50,402 whereas African Americans earn $29,180
  • Food insecurity is another top concern for the state. Alabama has a notably high food insecurity rate at 17.7 percent.

To access the 2017 Alabama Poverty Data Sheet, visit AlabamaPossible.org/PovertyDataSheet.