***For Immediate Release***
September 17, 2015
Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853
Mobile: (402) 840-7289
New data: Over 227,000 Nebraskans lived in Poverty in 2014
Census shows poverty has not sharply fallen despite nation’s lowest unemployment rate
LINCOLN — The percentage of Nebraskans living in poverty was slightly reduced in 2014 versus the previous year according to new state-level data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS).
According to the ACS, more than 227,000 Nebraskans – 12.4 percent – had incomes below the Federal Poverty Level in 2014, giving Nebraska the 14th-best rank in the country when it comes to the percent of people living in poverty. This is a slight reduction from 2013, when 13.2 percent of Nebraskans lived in poverty.
Nebraska Appleseed Economic Justice Director James Goddard said despite Nebraska having the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, too many Nebraskans are experiencing a low wages, poor job quality, and a lack of opportunity.
“This data is a needed reminder that even though our economy is improving, poverty is still a glaring problem in our state with more than 227,000 Nebraskans living below the Federal Poverty Level,” Goddard said. “In Nebraska, we must keep working to ensure public policies are creating pathways for hard-working people to get out of poverty and get ahead.”
One of the most alarming statistics from the ACS was Nebraska’s child poverty rate. In our state, 16.2 percent of children under the age of 18 – more than 74,000 kids – live in families that make incomes officially below the poverty line ($23,834 for a family of four).
Goddard said that while it is encouraging that the percent of poverty in Nebraska has not grown, far too many Nebraskans still suffer under the crushing weight of poverty despite an improving economy and falling unemployment rates.
“Policies that increase access to education and job training, health coverage, child care assistance are proven ways to help families move out of poverty,” Goddard said. “Expanding Medicaid, improving the quality of jobs, and making sure all Nebraskans can get the food they need will help families ensure their basic needs are being met while they work to improve their circumstances.”
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