Poverty Figures Remain High for Arkansas Children

AUGUST 30, 2006 - Posted at 7:29 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A U.S. Census Bureau report released yesterday shows that poverty declined slightly in Arkansas between 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 but remains well above the national rate among children.

The data showed that nearly one of every five Arkansas children live in poverty.

Arkansas' overall poverty rate slipped from 16.4 percent in 2003-2004 to 14.5 percent in 2004-2005.  The national rate was 12.7 percent using two-year averages released by the Census Bureau.

Among children, Arkansas was at 20.2 percent for 2004-2005, above the national average of 17.7 percent.

Using data only from 2005, Arkansas had a poverty rate of 17.2 percent, up from 15.8 percent in 2000.  Data also showed that 494,000 Arkansans had no health insurance in 2005, up 30.3 percent from the 379,000 uninsured in 2000.

Using figures adjusted for inflation, data released yesterday also showed that Arkansas' median household income dropped between 1999 and 2005, from $37,726 to $34,999.  The median is the point at which half of Arkansas' households make above the amount and half below.

The Census Bureau surveyed 100,000 households in the spring about their incomes and health insurance in 2005.  New Jersey had the highest median household income and Mississippi had the lowest.

Mississippi also had the highest poverty rate, at 21.3 percent.  New Hampshire had the lowest, at 7.5 percent.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)