New census data shows NC poverty rates prior to COVID-19 pandemic

North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA (WNCT) New data released this month from the Census Bureau provides a look at what the level of hardship was in our state prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysts in our state say it doesn’t look so good.

The American Community Survey shows that between 2018 and 2019 North Carolina’s poverty rate was over 13%.

That’s above the national rate. That hardship was felt most by people of color and people with low incomes here in our state during that time.

The poverty rate in North Carolina was: 

  • 26.2% for American Indian and Alaska Native people
  • 22.1% for Latinx people
  • 21.5% for Black people
  • 9.4% for White people
  • 7.7% for Asian people

Data analysts with the North Carolina Justice Center says the main take away from this data is that we had an economic expansion, it’s now ended. During that expansion, there was still a high number of North Carolinians living in poverty.

“And now with COVID-19 hardship is incredibly widespread and it’s extremely urgent that we act to ensure that people can thrive and that our economic recovery can succeed,” said Logan Harris, North Carolina Justice Center.

More up-to-date state-based census data from July of this year lets us know that there has been a rise in hardships. Data collected by the Census Bureau’s new Household Pulse Survey in July 2020 shows:

  • 12% of adults reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the past seven days.
  • 17% of adults with children reported that their kids sometimes or often didn’t eat enough in the past seven days because they couldn’t afford it.
  • 27% of adults who live in rental housing reported that they were behind on rent.
  • 30% of all children in North Carolina live in a family that is either not getting enough to eat or behind on housing payments

The North Carolina Justice Center is asking for policymakers to look into more relief and support for North Carolinians now and after this pandemic.

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