Poverty in Oklahoma is at a 10-year high, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released last week.
More than 610,000 Oklahomans lived below the poverty line in 2010. Poverty in Oklahoma reached a high in 2006, dipped in 2007 and 2008, and started climbing again in 2009, the data show.
A family of four is considered poor if the household earned less than $22,500 in 2010. StateImpact Oklahoma will be taking a closer look at poverty throughout the state in the coming weeks and months. We’ll talk to people in communities that are faring well, interview those struggling, and examine how the state budget is affecting local economics.
Source: 2010 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, U.S Census Bureau | Download Data
Oklahoma’s poverty level in 2010 — 16.8 percent — is a hair higher than the 16.7 percent peak estimated in 2006. One-tenth of a percentage point seems small, but it represents tens of thousands Oklahomans.
Young Poverty Up
There’s more bad news. Poverty percentages for Oklahomans under 18 are the highest they’ve been in a decade, and the increases are outpacing adult poverty estimates. Poverty percentages for those under 18 increased more than 2 percent from 2009, as did the percentages of those aged 5-17 in families. The number of children under 5 living in poverty increased 3 percent from 2009-2010, the data show.