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Poverty Up Across the State, With Wide Variations Among Cities

September 27, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. - Hartford has Connecticut's highest child poverty rate, with New Haven right behind. That was some of the bad news in U.S. Census data just released that tracked increases in poverty in the nation's cities over the past year.

Jamey Bell, executive director of Connecticut Voices for Children, says 45 percent of children under 18 in the state's capital live in families with incomes below the federal poverty line.

"And the federal poverty level is a pretty low amount; it's $22,113 per year for a family of four."

Connecticut has fallen from its former long-time spot as first or second wealthiest state to fourth, as measured by median household income.

Bell says another significant part of the report is the regional differences it exposes.

"What's really significant about the poverty rates, also, is that estimates of poverty really varies widely across Connecticut cities."

She says Hartford has the highest rate, at 31 percent; Norwalk's is the lowest, at just over 7 percent.

Despite the grim economic picture, with official state unemployment stuck at nine percent, Bell says her organization hopes state officials will take action.

"We are suggesting that policy makers concentrate on creating a comprehensive economic plan that is rigorous, that makes some hard choices about where scarce economic development and job creation dollars will go."

Statewide, the poverty rate for Latinos and African Americans was almost four times that of non-Hispanic whites, which stands at six percent.

Searchable Census data for state and city numbers is at census.gov

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT