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NC Budget and Tax Center

An honest and substantive discussion about poverty is, and has long been, virtually missing from the public debates. When is the last time you read a news article covering the issue of poverty in a substantive way? Chances are slim, according to a recent study conducted by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

Of the nearly 10,500 campaign articles published from January to June 2012 that were reviewed, the study found that national media coverage of poverty-related issues appeared in only 17 of the articles. Yet, the study found that “debt” and “deficit” appeared in 1,848 of the articles. How can we talk about fiscal cliffs, scaling back social insurance programs, and improving the weak economic recovery without having a substantive conversation about poverty, the structural factors that are driving poverty, and how it affects us all? 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