Press Release

RELEASE: Half in Ten Campaign’s New Interactive Map

Poverty Data by Congressional District

Tool enables policymakers and local officials to better understand hardship in their home districts

Washington, D.C.—The Half in Ten campaign, a joint partnership of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Coalition on Human Needs that seeks to cut poverty in half in 10 years, has released a new interactive map that breaks down the 2009 poverty data by state and congressional district. The map shows both the poverty rate and number of people living in poverty for each state as well as each congressional district, breaking statistics down by race, gender, and age.

Earlier this month the Census Bureau released the 2009 poverty data, which indicated that 43.6 million people in the United States lived in poverty last year, including 15.5 million children, the largest number on record. The September 28 release of the 2009 American Community Survey data confirms that more Americans are struggling with poverty than ever before. The data also show that the disparities in poverty levels vary widely across states and counties.

“These troubling statistics serve as a stark reminder to lawmakers of the hardship faced by millions of families and children living in their districts,” said Melissa Boteach, manager of the Half in Ten campaign.

As the map illustrates, women, children, and people of color were hit particularly hard in 2009. At least one in four children lived in poverty in 101 districts, and at least one in three children experienced poverty in 32 districts. In 81 congressional districts, the poverty rate for women was more than 20 percent. Of the 303 districts for which data is available, at least one in three African Americans lived below the poverty line in 24 percent of districts. One in three Latinos lived in poverty in 15 percent of districts for which data is available.

“We need to assist families struggling with the Great Recession today, but we also must work to create millions of good jobs that provide economic security and strengthen families in order to eliminate poverty in the long run,” said Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a Half in Ten partner.

Half in Ten is urging Congress to extend the TANF Emergency Fund, a fund that created at least 250,000 jobs and helped low-income workers build their skills while expanding small businesses across the country. Extending the fund is paramount in the short term.

“If Congress fails to act by September 30, the jobs and public-private partnerships created by the TANF Emergency Fund will be in jeopardy,” said Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, a Half in Ten partner.

Half in Ten is also advocating to make the tax code work for working families into 2011 by preserving the 2009 reforms to the earned income and child tax credits.

“Lawmakers should take steps to advance the prosperity of all Americans this fall,” stated Boteach. “The question is not whether poverty across the country increased last year as a result of the Great Recession. It did, and these trends are impacting all kinds of districts. The question is what members of Congress, who represent the districts in question, will do to address it.”

To see interactive, click here.