1/3 of Georgians, 3.3 Million People, Now Live in Poverty. That’s One of the Biggest Increases Nationwide

July 8, 2014 4:43 am

by Ed · 29 comments

Between 2000 and 2010, Georgia saw a 14.6% increase in the percentage of people living in poverty, according to a new report from the Census Bureau.

Ten years ago, 1.58 million Georgians lived in poverty. Now that number is 3.27 million.

As a percentage, that’s a larger increase than the South as a whole, the region with the largest number of poverty-stricken citizens. Georgia’s numbers are so bad, only four states (Arkansas, Oregon, Tennessee and North Carolina) saw a larger percentage increase of people living in poverty areas.

Unsurprisingly, the map showing the percent of people living in poverty areas in each county looks almost identical to this map.

According to the report: “problems associated with living in poverty areas, such as, higher crime rates, poor housing conditions, and fewer job opportunities are exacerbated when poor families live clustered in high-poverty neighborhoods.”

77.42 million Americans, or 25.7% of the U.S., now lives in poverty. That’s up from 49.49 million and 18.1%.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

John Konop July 8, 2014 at 6:52 am

Two big issues that would fight poverty are the War on Drugs and the minimum wage. One if we ended the War on Drugs and eliminated non violent drug offenders records you would see employment rise and or wages. A criminal record is a scarlet letter used against people seeking job opportunities. It especially hurts the lower middle class to poor who cannot afford the legal process, and do not have the connections to get around the issue. The current legal process on drugs is a hand that pulls at lower income people.

Finally workers making below the poverty level on a macro are tax payer subsidized workers. We should raise the minimum wage above the poverty line. If not we are only subsidizing workers with our tax dollars creating loose/loose situation. One is it is a very inefficient use of tax dollars….it is always better for the money to go direct to people rather than through the government. Also it is better for people to earn money than be dependent on government hand outs.

Ed July 8, 2014 at 7:06 am

“We should raise the minimum wage above the poverty line.”

How do you propose we do that when “the poverty line” is calculated differently for the 48 states, Alaska and Hawaii? Also poverty thresholds for families are calculated radically differently from individuals.

David C July 8, 2014 at 9:56 am

States can each pass their own minimum wages. Indeed, some states have minimum wages higher than the Federal level. One of the landmark studies about the economic effects of a higher minimum wages is one comparing New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s economic growth after New Jersey raised its minimum wage.See: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4509

Noway July 8, 2014 at 10:02 am

+1 John. The War on Drugs is a colossal failure. It rips away our freedoms and should be ended tomorrow. Legalize it all. Tax it. Regulate its dosages. Open treatment center for those who become addicted.

ChuckEaton July 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

The perpetual calls to change the minimum wage are an inflationary shell game. If the premise actually worked, where the government could raise someone’s compensation beyond the market rate, without any other consequences, then why not make the minimum wage $250,000 a year and we could all be rich.

John Konop July 8, 2014 at 10:54 am

Chuck,

Because at 250k I am not subsidizing the worker…….ironically if a person makes below poverty rate you are promoting socialism….I would rather see the person get the money for working….than get a government hand out, I am paying for….You are part of the government so I get your bias….

ChuckEaton July 8, 2014 at 11:42 am

John,

I understand your point, as I know a few employers who have complained about competing with Government welfare programs for employees, but I just think perpetually raising the minimum wage is offering a temporary illusion of a higher standard of living.

What you earn is irrelevant, it’s what you can buy with what you earn that’s important – which is the standard of living.

Raise the minimum wage and it puts upward pressure on the cost of goods and services. At that point the definition of poverty is reset, to take into account the upward pressure, and you back at square one.

John Konop July 8, 2014 at 11:58 am

Henry Ford always wanted workers making enough money to buy his cars…..in economics this is called distribution…..Years ago when I was in college it was argued by conservatives that we should not tax tips because that money gets distributed right back into the economy 95% of the time or more immediately…ie stimulates the economy…

The stimulated affect on low wage workers with more disposable dollars would help the economy ie stimulate…..Also, by it coming direct via employers rather than tax subsidies it would have a bigger stimulating effect. The above would more than correct any 3 to 5 % affect on product cost. Remember 70% of our economy is consumer spending…..We could either lower taxes, balance budget or reinvest into infrastructure….all have a stimulating effect that would out weigh product increase of 3 to 5%…..

Finally the biggest economic issue we are facing is consumption is down via spread between rich and poor growing…This is happening world wide…..Which is why China is facing major issues via all the building…..Hard to sell 200k condos to 2 dollar a day workers….Hard to sell exports to 2 dollar a day workers….Which is why we have had trade issues for years….ie consuming more than we produce….

TheEiger July 9, 2014 at 9:24 am

“Henry Ford always wanted workers making enough money to buy his cars…..in economics this is called distribution…..”

I’m pretty sure the 17 year old kid at Burger King making $7.50 an hour can afford a Big Mac. Let’s use a different analogy in the future. This one is getting stale.

TheEiger July 9, 2014 at 9:35 am

Shows how much fast food I eat. Big Mac=McDonald’s. The kid can afford a Whopper.

Ed July 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

“then why not make the minimum wage $250,000 a year”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope

Dave Bearse July 8, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Its not workers that are taxpayer-subsidized by poverty level wages, it’s their employers and especially the purchasers of the employer’s product or service.

John Konop July 9, 2014 at 2:14 am

I am lost who do think pays for welfare….? It does not come from the sky…..

Dave Bearse July 9, 2014 at 10:06 am

Taxpayers of course.

Who are the beneficiaries of poverty wages? Employers higher profits arising from poverty wages for the products and services they produce, and especially the purchasers of the products and services that pay less.

John Konop July 9, 2014 at 10:24 am

You are right short term….but that is race to the bottom economic plan…..Which is why demand is dropping as working poor increase. That is why CEO like at Costco buy into the Henry Ford theory pay people enough to buy your products…ie stimulate economy….also less welfare…more money in consumers hands is better than tax payer hand outs….

Michael Silver July 8, 2014 at 7:22 am

What we need is a bunch more low-wage, unskilled laborers to compete with the poor AMERICANS for jobs, medical care, educational resources, etc. That’ll work. AMNESTY FOR ALL!!!!

That was a sarcastic comment. Poverty can be linked directly to unbridled immigration both legal and illegal. Perhaps, someone can ask the Immigration Panel why is it compassionate to keep Americans in poverty and at when is there enough immigration.

Harry July 8, 2014 at 7:43 am

It’s amazing that the demographic groups most negatively affected by illegal migrants are voting for Obama who will not fix the border.

Michael Silver July 8, 2014 at 9:42 am

America is caught in a vise from both sides:

The demographic groups most negatively affected by HB1 and other visa abuses are voting for Chamber of Commerce Republicans like Kingston who want to flood the nation with cheap third world tech labor based on the lie that Americans don’t have tech skills to fill jobs.

Harry July 8, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Can’t disagree. If these tech companies want more foreign help, let them go to the workers’ home countries, set up shop and hire them there.

freebird July 8, 2014 at 8:52 am

This seems mis-leading to me. ~15% of Americans live in poverty according to the Census Bureau report referenced here, and any census tract with a rate of 20% or more is designated a “poverty area”. Seems to me that as poverty becomes less concentrated, which this post seems to indicate would be a good thing, both the absolute number and the percentage of Americans living in “poverty areas” will actually rise. This seems to be what is happening in Georgia, or at least Metro Atlanta, given that up until the early 90′s poverty was very concentrated in the City of Atlanta, and since then it has become more balanced, with more middle-class individuals moving into the City, diluting the poverty in those census tracts, while poverty in the suburbs has risen, tipping some of those areas over the 20% threshold. What we should be focusing on are policies that can start making a dent in the poverty rate over the long-term, rather than this “poverty area” concept.

Three Jack July 8, 2014 at 10:32 am

And 10 years from now it will probably double again. We unfortunately live in an age where self responsibility is frowned upon, just let government do it. As long as this continues whereby producers are forced to fund freeloaders via a ‘compassionate’ government run by elite liberal do gooders, we will see poverty rise.

What is poverty by today’s standards? How many of those considered to be living in poverty are also obese from sitting on their fat arses eating BonBons and watching The View?

If you want poverty to decline, force some responsibility on those considered to be impoverished. Make them work for their handouts, no more subsidies for multiple births, no more cell phones or cable TV, time for some tough love. But that ain’t gonna happen because anybody who would dare challenge our current government redistribution of wealth is called heartless.

Noway July 8, 2014 at 11:14 am
seenbetrdayz July 9, 2014 at 2:33 am

I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. There is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many alms-houses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor. Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful; and do they use their best endeavors to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burthen? On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that act, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness. In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.” — Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, 1766

‘Ole heartless Franklin

Three Jack July 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

Thanks for the heartless Ben Franklin quote, sums up my thoughts very well.

FranInAtlanta July 8, 2014 at 11:52 am

How much of the poverty can be attributed to the many refugees that we have absorbed?

Ed July 8, 2014 at 11:57 am

The study mentions the increasing diversity of poverty and impact of immigration. It doesn’t get specific into states but I would imagine that GA sees the same national trends.

Michael Silver July 9, 2014 at 6:40 am

Here’s a data point about how we are importing poverty.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies : 57 percent of households headed by immigrants from El Salvador use at least one major welfare program, as do 54 percent of Honduran households, and 49 percent of Guatemalan immigrant households. Among native households it is 24 percent.

http://www.cis.org/central-american-immigrants-us

WeymanCWannamakerJr July 8, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Bu..B..Bu…But the Guvnah is saying we are the #1 state to conduct bidness.

saltycracker July 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

TJ & Ben F nailed it.
Poverty is one of those, if you don’t like it, redefine it.

In this case poverty is pre-tax income compared against a variable threshold based on many factors. The measurements should include those benefits provided by taxpayers and charities.

Not saying it will change the increasing numbers or their choices or fate. What it will do is the surprising amount of support will have a major impact on public perception. This may cause some to make other choices freeing up resources to more truly needy.