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The good folks at a group called North Carolina Focus on Increased Education Leadership & Dignity (NC FIELD) are raising up an issue that deserves your attention year-round, but especially at Thanksgiving time: the plight of farmworkers and farmworker children. This is from an email the group sent out today:

“Tomorrow we remember the struggles of newcomers and the generosity of strangers….In eastern North Carolina, in just one county where some farmworker youth organizers live and work, the economic impact of agriculture is estimated at 30%. The jobs are some of the most dangerous in our nation, pay no overtime, legally employ children, and expose workers regularly to dangerous chemicals. The labor force responsible for that windfall is largely invisible, poverty-stricken, and as young as twelve years old.” Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

Poverty continued to disproportionately impact certain geographic communities in North Carolina in 2011, according to a report released last week by the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center. The data show that there was great variability in county-level poverty rates, especially when comparing rural and urban areas.See this chart for more details on county-level poverty rates in 2011.

At this point, the United States Census Bureau has only provided poverty levels for areas with at least 65,000 people. There are 39 counties in North Carolina that fit this criterion. In 2011, county-level poverty rates ranged from 10 percent in Union County to 30.4 percent in Robeson County. Eighteen counties had poverty rates equal to or below the state rate of 17.9 percent and 21 counties had poverty rates above 17.9 percent. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

North Carolina’s communities of color were more than two times as likely to live in poverty as whites in 2011, according to a report released last week by the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center. People of color were particularly hard hit by the Great Recession and the previous economic conditions and policy decisions that resulted in less access to pathways to the middle class. U.S. Census Bureau data show that the ongoing economic recovery from the recession is only serving to exacerbate the long-entrenched racial disparities in poverty. Read More