Documenting Poverty in North Carolina

Monday, April 4, 2016
Documenting Poverty in North Carolina

Using North Carolina data as its reference point, this report discusses traditional measures of documenting poverty and provides perspectives on how alternative measures may better reflect its actual impact. Policymakers should consider the range of measures when trying to understand the economic well-being of their communities and state.


For example, several economic measures show that financial hardship in North Carolina has been increasing since before the great recession that began in 2007. This hardship has a greater impact on children than on adults and on families than on single individuals. By any measure, North Carolina fares, on average, worse than most other states in terms of poverty and currently is experiencing the highest levels of poverty since the recession of the early 1980s. The poorest areas of the state are located in wide swaths of rural eastern and mountainous western counties. In addition, all urban areas in the state have at least one pocket of severe economic hardship.

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