Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data about the economic well-being of our nation and our state. Here are five facts you should know about poverty in Nebraska:
- More than one in five children (18.2%) in Nebraska experienced poverty in 2010. This is 3% higher than 2009.
- Minorities in Nebraska experience poverty at a disproportionate rate compared to the rest of the state. The Nebraska statewide poverty rate is: 12.9%, but it is 37% for African Americans, 27% for Latinos, 43% for Native Americans, and 11% for Asian Americans.
- Nebraska families are working at higher rates than the rest of the nation. 79.5% of families in Nebraska have all parents participating in the labor force, compared to 71.3% nationwide.
- Public benefits help. People experiencing poverty are significantly more likely to experience deep hardship, including hunger, overcrowded housing, and lack of medical care – but public benefits make a difference. For example, in the United States over all, 1.7 million children and 3.9 million people were lifted out of poverty by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps.) In Nebraska, 468,407 families received assistance from this program.
- Our federal safety net must be protected. As a nation, we are experiencing high levels of poverty. At the same time, Congress is examining our national priorities. In budget and deficit debates, it is crucial that public programs including SNAP and Medicaid are protected to assure the long-term health and well-being of our workforce and the next generation. See our “Statement of Principles on the Federal Budget” for Nebraska Appleseed’s take on the federal budget at this crucial time.