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County poverty level declines

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According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau recently, Chambers County’s poverty level declined by 2.2 percent from 2011 to 2012. Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates state that Chambers residents living in poverty declined from 23.7 percent in 2011 to 21.5 percent in 2012. Out of Alabama’s 67 counties, Chambers County is ranked 27th in poverty levels.

Chambers County’s estimates were slightly higher the statewide reports, which put Alabama’s poverty rate at 19 percent in 2012. That’s a slight decrease from the 19.1 percent reported in 2011.

Chambers County’s median household income actually decreased from $33,500 in 2011 to an estimated $32,320 in 2012, a decline of $1,180. Statewide, median household income rose by $183 to $41,610 in 2012. Chambers County ranked 52nd in the state for median household income.

Children living in poverty in Chambers County decreased from 39.1 percent in 2011 to 34.7 percent in 2012. The state child poverty rate for 2012 was 27.6 percent, the same as the previous year.

Nationally, the poverty rate did not change significantly, decreasing from 15.9 percent in 2011 to 15.0 percent in 2012. The national child poverty estimate was 22.6 percent in 2012, compared to 22.5 percent in 2011. Median household income nationally went up by $869 to $51,371.

Alabama ranked as the fourth poorest states in the country and was home to the poorest county in the nation (Wilcox County). Mississippi was the nation’s poorest state in 2012, followed by Arkansas and West Virginia. The wealthiest state in the nation for 2012 was Maryland with a median household income of $71,169.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the official poverty threshold for a family of four containing two related children under the age of 18 as $23,283.

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