Last week, two news stories about poverty caught my attention.
The first showed up Sunday. In "The Poor and Plenty," the Baltimore Sun describes how Maryland's low poverty rate (8.3 percent) doesn't accurately portray the state's situation. Maryland has two of the top five richest counties in the nation and one of the top fifteen poorest cities (CNN - America's Richest and Poorest Places). When you combine all of these areas, the plight of Maryland's poorer areas become much easier to overlook. While this article talks about Maryland, it made several points that you should consider when looking at your local poverty rate.
- The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. "Average blue-collar families that work hard and earn a wage are not included in the [benefits from a growing economy]."
- Poverty rates are going up again.
- Children from low-income households in affluent states are worse off than those in less affluent states. (Check out the Annie E. Casey Foundation for more information.)
- Two items that can help are better health insurance for the poor and the earned income tax credit.
- Public opinion is changing. The Pew Research Center says that there is more support for government programs that help those in poverty.
Also mentioned in this article are the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE), a US Census Bureau program that provides updated estimates of selected income and poverty statistics. For those of you invited to submit full TIG applications, you might want to consider checking these estimates out.
Check back tomorrow for a look at the second news story - health care in Oregon. - K