Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts tagged as “poverty”

New Economic Data Show Appalachia’s Struggles Amid Coal’s Decline

An annual report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that while Appalachia is seeing some economic improvement, the heart of the region and its coal-producing communities are still struggling. Several counties in the Ohio Valley are moving in a negative direction in this year’s report. 

The ARC report evaluates the Appalachian region using county-level data on unemployment, per capita market income, and poverty. Counties are rated on a scale with five tiers. At the low end are those “economically distressed,” or those ranking among the worst 10 percent of county economies in the country. At the high end is “attainment,” for those with thriving economies on par with the nation’s top performing places. In between are counties labeled “at risk,” “transitional,” or “competitive.”

Ten counties in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia are moving in a negative direction. Those are: Rowan Co., Kentucky; Ashtabula, Athens, Coshocton, and Guernsey Counties, Ohio: and Nicholas, Pleasants, and Wirt Counties in West Virginia. 

Just four counties in the Ohio Valley are moving in a positive direction: Cumberland and Garrard Counties, Kentucky; and Hardy and Summers Counties in West Virginia. 

ARC data on economic status of Appalachian counties.

The ARC authors point out that many of …

Trump Wants To Limit Aid For Low-Income Americans. A Look At His Proposals

If you’re poor or low-income in the U.S. and take advantage of government safety net programs, you could be affected by a number of new rules and actions proposed by the Trump administration. Most of the changes are still pending, and anti-poverty groups are trying to stop them from going into effect. Some of the proposals already face legal challenges.

President Trump has said repeatedly that he wants to get more people off government aid and into the workforce so they can become self-sufficient. To help do that, he issued an executive order last year to reduce poverty “by promoting opportunity and economic mobility.”

In it, Trump called on federal agencies to streamline existing welfare programs, strengthen work requirements and make sure that taxpayer money is spent on “those who are truly in need.”

But anti-poverty advocates say the administration’s proposals would hurt, rather than help, poor Americans. They say it will make it more difficult for those trying to become self-sufficient by denying them food, housing and medical assistance when they need it most.

“They really are trying to use every agency to make life harder for people who are low-income,” says Elizabeth Lower-Basch, director of income and work …

Census Data Show Some Ky. Counties Among Nation’s Poorest

New data from the Census Bureau show eastern Kentucky is still struggling with poverty and lagging far behind national and state averages in terms of income.

The Bureau’s latest American Community Survey shows Bell, Harlan and McCreary counties have some of the lowest median household incomes in the United States. Of counties with 10,000 residents or more, those three Kentucky counties were among the bottom five in the country when ranked by median income.

From 2012 to 2017, the survey shows, median household income has risen between by more than $4,600 in the U.S. and nearly $4,000 in Kentucky as a whole. But median incomes in Bell, Harlan and McCreary counties have fallen in that five-year span by more than $4,000.

The median incomes in these eastern Kentucky counties range from $19,000 to $24,500, far below the state median of $46,535 and the U.S. median of $57,652.

These communities and many others in Kentucky also continue to experience high levels of poverty. The Bureau’s survey shows Middlesboro, a city in Bell County, has one of the highest poverty rates among small towns in the country, with 40 percent of the town’s population living in poverty.

“Those communities grew up being …

31 Percent Of U.S. Households Have Trouble Paying Energy Bills

Nearly a third of households in the United States have struggled to pay their energy bills, the Energy Information Administration said in a report released Wednesday. The differences were minor in terms of geography, but Hispanics and racial minorities were hit hardest.

About one in five households had to reduce or forego food, medicine and other necessities to pay an energy bill, according to the report. “Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” the report stated.

More than 10 percent of households kept their homes at unhealthy or unsafe temperatures.

The data come from the federal agency’s most recent energy consumption survey in 2015. That year, expenditures for energy were at their lowest in more than decade, according to the agency.

“We only conduct the Residential Energy Consumption Survey every 4-5 years,” survey manager Chip Berry told NPR by email. “This is the first time in the history of the study (goes back to late ’70s) that we have [measured] energy insecurity across all households, so there’s not much in the way of historical comparison.”

The study found that about half of households …