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Poverty in Albany metro area inches up

ALBANY, Ga. -- Compared to 2010, the 2011 Albany Metro Poverty rate ticked upward more than 0.7 percent, but that figure is lower than some had expected.

According to new estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau through the 2011 American Community Survey, the number of people living at or below the federal poverty line grew to 28.4 percent. That figure is up from 27.7 percent in 2010.

That statistic covers people who lived in Dougherty, Lee, Terrell, Worth and Baker counties in 2011.

According to statistics used by the Census Bureau, the poverty line is defined as a family of four -- two adults and two children -- whose maximum income did not excede $23,581 in 2011.

That poverty threshold changes based on the number of children and the number of adults living in a home.

Aaron Johnson, an economics professor at Darton College and a member of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, said that while the uptick in the poverty numbers was far from positive, faster-than-expected growth in some industrial sectors in the region likely negated worse statistics.

"Albany continues to have very high poverty rates, which can be explained by socioeconomic challenges dealing with family structure and educational attainment," Johnson said. "However, the rate of increase in Albany was slower than for the rest of Georgia, so that's a good sign I speculate that our job growth rates which were the highest in Georgia is the reason for the improvement."

Breaking down the numbers supports some of Johnson's conclusions.

According to the same ACS survey, in the city of Albany alone, 42 percent of people who didn't graduate highschool live below the poverty line while 31 percent of those with a high school diploma or equivalency are living in poverty.

Those figures contrast with the 10.3 percent of those who have a bachelor's degree or higher but still live in poverty.

The data supports Johnson's theory that much of Albany's systemic poverty is linked to low educational attainment.

For the metro area, the data also yield some interesting facts.

Roughly 44,000 people in the metro area lived at or below the poverty line during 2011.

The highest gender subset of that were women between the ages of 25 and 34, 4,410 of whom lived in poverty.

The stats suggest that 16.1 percent of women in the metro area live in poverty compared to 12.2 percent of men.

Johnson said that if there is a silver lining to be found in the numbers, it's likely to be that the Albany Metro area's poverty number increase was less than the state of Georgia's.

"I show the rate of increase in poverty going up 0.7 percentage points, which is much better than the 1.2 percentage point increase for Georgia and almost better than the U.S. rate of 0.60 percentage points," Johnson said.

He said the Athens MSA currently has a poverty rate of 29.9 percent, which is higher than metro Albany's. The Valdosta MSA saw a large increase in poverty -- 4.6 percent -- and and is now approaching to Albany's at 27.6 percent.

w/graphic

Comments

bigbob 1 year, 6 months ago

Lets face it people the poverty & unemployment will keep going up as long as DCSS and the commisions keep doing the same old crap. Why don't the Herald do a survey with MCLB and the few big bussiness's that are left to see what they believe is the biggest problems in Albany then work on fixing them. DCSS & the commisions do the same old things over & over and expect a different result.

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RedEric 1 year, 6 months ago

People on welfare are NOT in poverty. That family of four recieve twice as much in goods and services in value than we do as a retired couple. These games played by the government are damaging. If you are on welfare and are told you are living in poverty you would think "Boy, those other guys must be living really well!". It pushes people apart. It Creates classes where none actually exists. And worse, it confuses the issue so that people who actually are in poverty are often overlooked.

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Nous_Defions 1 year, 6 months ago

"Albany continues to have very high poverty rates, which can be explained by socioeconomic challenges dealing with family structure and educational attainment," Johnson said.

Succinct and to the point! (in a politically correct way)

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whattheheck 1 year, 6 months ago

Albany grows its own poverty through the copious social support network it fosters. Poverty will decrease when subsidized housing decreases and freebies are cutback. Poverty is our largest industry and seems to be the only industry we cultivate.

Having said that, the American Community Survey, a process of and controlled by the Census Bureau, has zero credibility with me as far as reported numbers. I worked on the 2010 census and can assure you the numbers were not close to accurate since the Census does not follow its own procedures. In an election year, I would expect what is reported here, less negative numbers to support the national incumbents.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

All you have to do is read the weekly Births announcements in this paper to understand the root cause of the problem.

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robmcd 1 year, 6 months ago

And interesting to add, while poverty in southwest Georgia increased 5% from 2000 to 2010, overall poverty in the South decreased.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 6 months ago

Some of the folks who live in so called poverty have kids in school wearing name brand designer clothes carrying a cell phone and carrying a Coach purse. They have false fingernails and foiled hair, boy I need to join that crowd. Being poor is big business in Albany. DFAS is the busiest lobby in town.

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dmyers80 1 year, 6 months ago

RedEric... I some what agree with you, this is a tricky subject, It is confusing because of the statistics that are reported... If a family of 4 that lives in subsidized housing, and gets $750 food stamps a month. Statistically they are living poverty but housing and food are being paid for so it really doesnt matter that they have less than $24,000 income. Now that being said... I am married with 5 kids, and i make less that $30,000 a year. I take care of a household of 7 and I do so with NO ASSISTANCE....

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

That's called living within your means and making smart decisions regarding your budget. Good job!

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whodat 1 year, 6 months ago

you say you make less than $30,000 per year. what does your husband make? what is your total household income?

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dmyers80 1 year, 6 months ago

I am the husband... Only one income!!

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Lean_Left 1 year, 6 months ago

This is exactly why redistribution is an idea we need to look at. Almost 30% of our citizens need some help.

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mandag 1 year, 6 months ago

THEN GO CHURCHES AND YOUR COMMUNITY FOR HELP BECAUSE IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENTS JOB TO TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE OR TO TAKE MONEY FROM PEOPLE AND REDISTRIBUTE IT. MY MONEY THAT I WORKED HARD FOR AND LIVED WITHIN MY MEANS IS MINE AND CHARITY IS A CHOICE! IF I WANT TO HELP MY NEIGHBORS THIS IS AMERICA I HAVE THE CHOICE TO HELP OR NOT TO HELP!! I SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO HELP!!

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Cartman 1 year, 6 months ago

Our problems are the "socioeconomic challenges dealing with family structure and educational attainment" that are holding public office on the school board, commissions, and Congress.

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 6 months ago

come help me feed and clean my hogs.....

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

BSRN and Hugo Chavez! A match made in Hell!!

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dmyers80 1 year, 6 months ago

I am in favor of helping those who HONESTLY NEED it, but redistribution is just crazy...Its one thing to use the taxes Ive paid for welfare programs, i look at it as , once Ive paid it to the government its now theirs and they can do with it what they want... Lets face it, if welfare is cut out all together... I still dont think taxes will be lowered. But to say to someone "were gonna take some for your hard earned money and give it to this guy because he didnt work and hasnt earned anything" thats WRONG!

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

In its simplest form, it's just a legal way for the Democrat party to buy votes. Their decades-old goal, which has nearly been achieved, is to "buy" enough votes through Government Checks to Citizens so that they will become permanently in power (at least until the Nation fails under unssustainable debt......which won't be long from now is spending is not reduced......)

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