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N.C. ranks 17th worst in child poverty rate Read more: N.C. ranks 17th worst in child poverty rate | The Business Journal (01/12/2011)

A total of 8.6 percent of children in North Carolina were extremely poor in 2008, a rate that places the state as the 17th worst in the nation for rates of extremely poor children, according to a new study by the Southern Education Foundation.

Extreme child poverty is defined as living 50 percent below the federal poverty line, which in 2008 stood at $10,600 for a family of four in 2008.

North Carolina’s 8.6 percent rate tops the national average of extremely poor children, which is 7.9 percent.

The study is based on 2008 data, the most recent available regarding an income-based definition of poverty.

More than 2.4 million children — 42 percent of the nation’s total — lived in the South in 2008. At least one child in 10 lived in extreme poverty in 10 of the 11 southern states, including North Carolina, that year.

Rural areas in the state are hit harder by poverty, the study shows. In North Carolina, the rural rate for extreme child poverty is 12.9 percent, a total of 4.3 percentage points higher than the statewide rate.

N.C. also hosts four of the 100 school districts nationwide with the highest rates of extreme child poverty: Scotland County Schools, at 27 percent; Lexington City Schools, at 21.1 percent; Northampton County Schools, at 20.4 percent; and Robeson County Schools, at 19.9 percent.

The top five states with the lowest rates of extreme child poverty are Utah, at 4.1 percent; New Hampshire, at 4.2 percent; Wyoming, at 4.6 percent; Maryland, at 4.8 percent, and Alaska at 5.1 percent.

The top five states with the highest rates of extreme child poverty are Alabama, at 10.8 percent; Kentucky, at 11.1 percent; West Virginia, at 11.3 percent; Louisiana, at 12.1 percent; and Mississippi, at 13.9 percent.

Data in the report were collected before the full impact of the recession, and estimates of the increase in extreme child poverty in North Carolina from 2008-2010 range from 15.6 percent to 25.9 percent.

Read more: N.C. ranks 17th worst in child poverty rate | The Business Journal

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