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10 Percent of US Counties Live in 'Persistent Poverty'

10 Percent of US Counties Live in 'Persistent Poverty'

Just one region accounts for over half of those living in poverty in the United States.

According to U.S. Census data released this month, over 10 percent of counties within the United States are experiencing "persistent poverty".

Of the 3,142 counties across the country, the report found 341 of them “experienced high poverty rates for an extended period.” More than 80 percent were in the South, in areas "such as the Southwest border, the Mississippi Delta, the Southeast, Appalachia, and in some counties with higher amounts of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal lands," according to the release.

Despite accounting for 38 percent of the country's population, the South accounted for 54.9 percent of those living in poverty. Within the region, 20 percent of counties are experiencing "persistent poverty".

There were fifteen states that reported no counties in persistent poverty: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Indiana, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Wyoming, and Vermont.

Ten states reported 10 percent or more counties in persistent poverty: Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia.

The District of Colombia does not report counties in poverty, but over 15 percent of its population lives in chronic poverty. Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island did not report 10 percent or more of counties in persistent poverty, but researchers did not that over 10 percent of the population in the states experience chronic poverty.

The Census Bureau also noted that “persistent poverty” refers to “places with a long history of high poverty." That is not the same as “chronic poverty," which refers to people who experience consistent poverty.

"Research suggests people living in high poverty areas experience significant barriers to well-being whether or not they’re poor themselves," the release explains. "The longer poverty exists in an area, the more likely the community lacks adequate infrastructure and support services."

It continues: "For that reason, government agencies want to identify areas with high rates of poverty over time to determine if they need support."

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