Arkansas ranks near the bottom on many poverty metrics, new report finds | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Arkansas ranks near the bottom on many poverty metrics, new report finds

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 12:56 PM

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A new report from the Center for American Progress analyzes states' efforts to reduce poverty. The report tracks 15 indicators that address poverty, such as income inequality and affordable housing. 

It will come as no surprise that Arkansas fairs poorly on many of the report's metrics. 

From the introduction: 

In 2014, more than one in seven Americans—46.7 million people—lived below the official federal poverty level of less than $24,000 per year for a family of four. While the U.S. economy has gradually improved in the aftermath of the recession, far too many families continue to struggle to make ends meet, much less get ahead.

Each year, the Center for American Progress releases its “State of the States” report, which evaluates progress toward cutting poverty and increasing opportunity by tracking 15 key indicators in each state. These indicators can help state policymakers better understand the areas in which states are improving the situation of struggling families, as well as the areas in which they must do more to promote families’ well-being. The report ranks states according to how successfully they are reducing poverty and inequality, improving the quality of jobs and education, promoting family stability and strength, and ensuring family economic security.

As this report underscores, policy matters when it comes to addressing poverty and improving economic opportunity. State policymakers have a host of tools at their disposal to bring about change that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of American families.

In Arkansas, the poverty rate was 18.9 percent, ranking it forty-sixth among states in the country. 

Here are the other rankings. Note: Arkansas ranks middle of the pack in terms of health insurance coverage for the poor. The state's uninsured rate has been cut nearly in half by the private option; the figures listed below would be a little better with more updated numbers, as more people are now covered by the policy. Depressing thought: there's a chance that the legislature will kill the PO and Arkansas will return to having one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation. 

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