Local News

Report: 18 counties have poverty levels above 20 percent

Posted November 24, 2009

— Eighteen of the 100 North Carolina counties have poverty levels above 20 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by the NC Justice Center.

The highest percentage was in Robeson County, where nearly 31 percent of residents lived poverty in 2008.

The statewide poverty level was 14 percent in 2008, according to the American Community Survey.

North Carolina's average per capita income was $28,908 in 2008, according to the ACS. The N.C. Division of Social Services reports that a family of four needs an average household income of $42,841 to meet its basic needs.

Robeson was followed by Scotland with 29 percent, Lenoir with nearly 26 percent, and Vance and Wilkes counties with 25 percent.

Dorothy Hunt, founder and executive director of Lifeline Outreac Vance County deals with poverty

Vance County saw a 3-point jump in its unemployment rate to 13 percent this year as compared to 2008.

The county has lost thousands of jobs in manufacturing and textiles. Recently, it partnered with the City of Henderson to focus economic development efforts.

“It was not something that has occurred overnight and the solutions won’t be overnight, but we are optimistic that it can be done,” Vance County Manager Jerry Ayscue said.

Tocca Crudup, of Henderson, said her husband has been looking for work for a year. She was getting food on Tuesday from the local pantry Area Christians Together in Service (ACTS), at 305 S. Chestnut St.

Crudup, who is disabled, said receiving the food brings her "joy."

Officials at the ACTS soup kitchen said they are serving an average of 60 people at lunch, an increase of about 20 people from last year.

“When the jobs get scarce, our services become much more in demand,” said Melvin Green, ACTS executive director.

Green said the community has increased donations to make sure nobody gets turned away.

Officials at the shelter Lifeline Outreach, 2014 Raleigh Road in Henderson, have been forced to turn away some people seeking food.

“Sometimes we have to say, ‘No, we don’t have enough,’” said Dorothy Hunt, Lifeline Outreach founder and executive director.

Hunt said the need for food at the shelter is up 40 percent.

“I’ve been doing this 29 years and this is the worst that we’ve seen,” Hunt said.

The number of people receiving food stamps increased in Vance County from 11,209 in September 2008 to 12,630 this year, according to the report.

The report showed that about 23 percent of residents of Robeson County lacked health insurance. Unemployment in the county spiked from nearly 9 percent last year to 12 percent this year.

Other counties with a more than 20 percent poverty rate were: Bladen (25), Duplin (21), Edgecombe (23), Halifax (24), Hertford (25), Pitt (22), Richmond (24), Watauga (21) and Wilson (23).

The Triangle area fared better in the report. Wake County was found to have a 9 percent poverty rate in 2008. Durham and Chatham counties had 13 percent and Orange County had a 14 percent poverty rate.

Overall the report found that statewide 1.3 million people were living in poverty and 1.4 million people were without health insurance in 2008.


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  • 1carpe Nov 25, 2009

    If Hartness wanted this information to really be meaningful there would have been a comparison to the samd data from 2007. Of course the number of people in poverty is higher..unemployment is at its highest in a long time. I think two sets of numbers show a true picture, one set of poverty level compared to welfare recipients by county. Be shocked if the counties changed much. Maybe Hartness can go back and do some true research, and then put together a story that means something as opposed to a story designed to bolster politically correct thinking.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 25, 2009

    "Obama said unemployment wouldn't go above 8.5% but McCain said "the economy is fundamentally sound" right before it totally collapsed along with the stock market. REBPULICANS DON'T HAVE A CLUE!"

    Our economy is built on the confidence that the consumer has in the economy.

    During the Presidential Primaries, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards constantly talked about how bad of shape the country was in and how he was going to fix. Unfortunately the consumers were scared to death by these Democrats and the economy went in the toilet just before the 2008 election. Unfortunately, Obama hasn't been able to end this gloom and doom and turn the economy around.

    If you look back through history, there is normally a recession after an election that replaces the incumbent with someone from the other party. We had the large recessions in 1973 and 1982 after the Presidential elections in 1972 and 1980. Clinton and GW Bush had small recessions at the beginning of their terms as well.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 25, 2009

    Interesting note, nationwide counties that have a high poverty rate were more likely to vote for Obama and Democrats. Seems those who are under the poverty line vote to protect their welfare check from the government.

    Our founding fathers had it right initially when they only allowed those who owned property to vote.

    Thomas Jefferson said that our country would destroy itself when the people figured out that they could vote themselves benefits from the government.

    Looks like we're now at the point that Thomas Jefferson most feared.

  • alwayz2morrow Nov 25, 2009

    Obama said unemployment wouldn't go above 8.5% but McCain said "the economy is fundamentally sound" right before it totally collapsed along with the stock market. REBPULICANS DON'T HAVE A CLUE!

  • whatelseisnew Nov 25, 2009

    I say lets sell those counties to china. Solves the problem.

  • ranquick Nov 25, 2009

    only 18, People by the time the Government is finish with us it will be higher than that. wake up America cannot you see the Governmet want to control all facets of your LIFE.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 25, 2009

    "Regan and Bush the First tax cuts for the rich and corporations enabled the outsourcing of the American manufacturing sector. "

    Cutting taxes has nothing to do with the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico and China. Bill Clinton signing NAFTA and supporting China's entry into the WTO is mostly responsible for the outsourcing of jobs.

    If anything the populist tax hike policies of our Socialist President Obama will cause even more jobs to be sent overseas as business scramble to reduce costs and increase their profits because our Socialist Preisident Obama is raising their taxes.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 25, 2009

    "Regan and Bush the First tax cuts for the rich and corporations enabled the outsourcing of the American manufacturing sector. This is their failed macroeconomic policies coming home to roost.

    Cutting school spending and job training creates large numbers of unemployable citizens.

    We're still waiting for those tax cuts to "trickle down" like the good GOP promised in their contract with America.

    Or maybe we can learn from our mistakes and never put them in charge of anything important again. - ncwebguy"

    You are way off on this one, typical liberal rewriting of history.

    The outsourcing of jobs started when Bill Clinton signed NAFTA which made it easy to send jobs to Mexico. Clinton also signed the WTO agreements which allowed China to enter the WTO which made it easy to send jobs to China.

    If you are a former manufacturing employee who had his job sent to Mexico and/or China, thank Bill Clinton. He's the one who's ultimately responsible.

  • starshield Nov 25, 2009

    excuse me want instead of won't. You can bash me on that.

  • starshield Nov 25, 2009

    Notice that alot of these poor counties are mainly democratic counties. Why? The democratic party is the single most oppressive group in the US history. They won't to keep the poor, mainly african americans, uneducated and in need of govt. assistance. Then when they give them a free handout, they are looked upon as helping the little guy. My opinion and I am sure to get bashed. If anyone thinks otherwise, show me I am wrong.