Census: Number Of Arizonans Living In “Poverty Areas” Jumped In 2010

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The number of Arizona residents living in concentrated “poverty areas” grew significantly in the first decade of the century, according to a new Census report.

From 2000 to 2010, Arizonans living in poverty areas – census tracts with poverty rates of 20 percent or more – rose from 24 percent of the state’s residents to 33.4 percent. Gila County had one of the highest poverty rates in the state in both 2000 and 2010, falling in the 25-49 percent category.

Arizona was one of 14 states, along with the District of Columbia, that had more than 30 percent of its population living in a poverty area in 2010, the Census said.

Experts in the state said the poverty area numbers merely reflect the fact that Arizona was hit hard by the recession and poverty generally grew.

Still, one advocate for the poor called the poverty area data “definitely a startling statistic.”

Amanda Lee, outreach and community development manager at Arizona Community Action Association, said it is just another indicator of the “new face of poverty” in the state – the working poor.

Tom Rex, associate director of the Center for Competitiveness and Prosperity Research at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, said the numbers are not surprising given the state’s overall economic condition.

Arizona was one of the states hit hardest by the recession, he said, and it continues to exceed national poverty rates for two reasons – low wages and a low employment rate.

“Arizona, like the nation, will go up and down with the economic cycle,” Rex said.

In May, the latest month for which state employment numbers are available from the Labor Department, Arizona saw the number of jobs go down. It was second only to Florida for the largest over-the-month decrease in employment from April to May.

Jim Chang, Arizona state demographer in the Department of Administration, said he also sees the state’s slow recovery from the recession reflected in its high poverty rates.

“I think it is more an economic issue than a demographic issue,” Chang said of the poverty areas report.

Chang said the total number of people in poverty in Arizona has grown, and the Census-tract data just provides a different way of looking at poverty in the state.

Lee said mid-wage jobs in Arizona suffered the biggest loss in the recession, and that new low-wage jobs have accounted for most of the recovery. That leaves working families struggling with low incomes, she said.

In 2000, Mohave, Yavapai, Maricopa and Greenlee counties were the only ones with fewer than 25 percent of their residents living in poverty areas, according to the Census. By 2010, every county in the state had at least 25 percent of residents living in a poverty area.

Many of the counties with high percentages – more than 80 percent – of people living in poverty areas were clustered in and around American Indian reservations.

“Many of the reservations are geographically isolated, that is part of the problem,” Rex said.

That isolation can be compared to Arizona’s rural communities where there are generally not as many job opportunities for low-income families, he said.

Web Links:

_ Arizona Community Action Association: http://azcaa.org/

_ Arizona State University W.P. Carey Business School: http://wpcarey.asu.edu/

_ Census Bureau Report: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/poverty/cb14-123.html

SIDEBAR:

Shifting poverty

Census “poverty areas” are those where 20 percent of people or more live in poverty. In Arizona, as in the rest of then nation, the number of residents in poverty areas grew from 2000 to 2010. The share of people living in poverty areas.

2000: Under 10 percent

  • Greenlee County

  • Yavapai County

10-24.9 percent

  • Maricopa County

  • Mohave County

25-49.9 percent

  • Cochise County

  • Coconino County

  • Gila County

  • La Paz County

  • Pima County

  • Pinal County

  • Yuma County

50-79.9 percent

  • Graham County

  • Navajo County

  • Santa Cruz County

80-100 percent

  • Apache County

2010:

25-49.9 percent

  • Cochise County

- Gila County

  • Graham County

  • Greenlee County

  • La Paz County

  • Maricopa County

  • Mohave County

  • Pima County

  • Pinal County

  • Yavapai County

50-79.9 percent

  • Coconino County

  • Navajo County

  • Santa Cruz County

  • Yuma County

80-100 percent

  • Apache County

Arizona saw an increase between 200 and 2010 in the percentage of residents living in “poverty areas,” or those tracts where more than 20 percent of the population is below the poverty level. The state’s shift was part of a national trend during the decade. (Map courtesy the U.S. Census Bureau)

Comments

Robbin Flowers 4 months, 4 weeks ago

"Experts in the state said the poverty area numbers merely reflect the fact that Arizona was hit hard by the recession and poverty generally grew." BECAUSE THIS IS A RIGHT TO WORK STATE AND THE TOP 100 EMPLOYEERS IN THIS STATE ARE MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS.

THIS “startling statistic” IS ACCROSS THE BOARD IN ALL RIGHT TO WORK STATES AND ALL THE SOUTHERN STATES, ESPICALLY THE ONES THAT BOARDER MEXICO, or WHERE THERE ARE HIGH CONCENTRATION'S OF A CERTAIN RELIGION LIKE IN LOUSIANNA.

"The “new face of poverty” in the state – the working poor." IS COMPLETELY MANUFACTURED VIA FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS THAT SUPPORT CORPORATE WELFARE.

"The numbers are not surprising given the state’s overall economic condition." AGAIN, COMPLETELY MANUFACTURED.

"Arizona was one of the states hit hardest by the recession, he said, and it continues to exceed national poverty rates for two reasons – low wages and a low employment rate." YEP!!! AND THAT EXIST BECAUSE OF THE MULTI-NATIONALS TEARING APART AZ.

"That leaves working families struggling with low incomes." YEP. "THEY" HAVE TO BREAK DOWN THE CORE FAMILY UNITS, THE FOUNDATION OF EVERY SOCIETY BY APPLYING AS MUCH FINANCIAL STRESS TO EACH UNIT POSSIBLE. FINACNCE ARE A TOP REASON FOR DIVORCE.

"Many of the counties with high percentages – more than 80 percent – of people living in poverty areas were clustered in and around American Indian reservations." YEP. THAT IS THE IDEA, CREATE AS MUCH POVERTY AS POSSIBLE IN THE RURAL AREAS TO DRIVE POPULATIONS INTO THE CITIES WHERE IT PERCIEVED THAT "THEY" CAN BETTER CONTAIN CARBON EMMISSION'S. WHILE THE IMPOVERISHED WILL LIVE IN THE CITIES, THOSE OF MEANS WILL BE ON THE OUTSKIRTS.

"That isolation can be compared to Arizona’s rural communities where there are generally not as many job opportunities for low-income families." YEP, BECAUSE THE WAL-MART TYPE SYSTEMS MOVE IN A DRIVE OUT OTHER BUSINESS, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME ABSORBING PROFITS OFF THE TAX BASE OF EACH PLACE THAT IS BESMERCHED BY THEM. QUITE FRANKLY THE USA SHOULD JUST COME OUT AND TELL MEXICO THAT THEY NOW BELONG TO AMERICA, WHY PLAY THE GAME? THEY THINK THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE US OVER, WHEN IT IS INFACT US THAT WILL BE ABSORBING THEM. PLEASE JUST SIGN THE PAPERS ALREADY, NAFTA WORKED, WE NOW ALMOST OWN MEXICO IN FULL, THE MULTI-NATIONAL MEGA FARMS AND MANUFACTURES SURE DO. JUST KEEP THE US CONSTITUTION IN PLACE AND HAVE THEM ABIDE BY THAT ONE, AMERICANS WILL NEVER ALLOW THE CONSTITUTION TO BE DISOLVED!

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