Alabama ARISE: Child poverty in Alabama is up while family income is down


Courtesy: MGN Online

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) - There is some not-so-great financial news about how you, your neighbors, and children in Alabama may be fairing.

Alabama ARISE -- a citizen's policy project -- is out with their take on new census data and insists the state hasn't even begun to bounce back from what it calls the "Great Recession".

Children in Alabama work during the school year to understand how to make numbers add up.

Adults, meanwhile, are dealing with numbers that don't add up.

Alabama ARISE finds child poverty in the state remains disturbingly high.

"It is not very good news," said Carol Gundlach, a spokeswoman for Alabama ARISE.

ARISE reports that in 2013, one in four children lived in poverty.  That's 27 percent -- and three percentage points higher -- than it was in 2007.

"Alabama has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the United States," Gundlach added.

ARISE staffers connect those numbers to low income for families and the fact the state is down 105,000 jobs since the beginning of what ARISE calls the "Great Recession" in 2007.

"We are really not in full recovery of not even in very good recovery mode from the recession," said Gundlach.

When it comes to families in Alabama living in poverty, ARISE found in 2013, one in five of all Alabamians lived in poverty.  That's $24,000 for a family of four for a year.  The household median was down $2,700 as compared to 2007.

ARISE insists recovery will come only when the poor are able to hang onto more of their money.

To help, Gundlach suggests legislators getting rid of sales taxes on groceries, expanding Medicaid to create better-paying jobs and new tax revenue, and reforming the state minimum wage and state earned income tax credit.

"Get the money into the hands of low income families so that they can use it to take care of their children," she said.

ARISE also points out the state has slashed funding for K-12 by more than 20 percent since 2008 -- more than all other states, except one.

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