RI has not moved needle on poverty, uninsured (RI Future)

RI has not moved needle on poverty, uninsured (RI Future)

September 20, 2013

By: Bob Plain

Rhode Island hasn’t moved the needle for people living in poverty,
according to an analysis of new Census data by the Economic Progress
Institute.

The Ocean State still has the second highest poverty rate in New
England, behind only Maine, with 13.7 percent of residents living below
the poverty standard. There are nearly 140,000 Rhode Islanders who earn
less than $19,090 in 2012 and more than 62,000 Rhode Islanders earned
less than $10,000.

Neighbors Connecticut and Massachusetts boast considerably lower poverty rates at 10.7 and 11.9 percents respectively.

“Stagnant income and unchanged poverty rates underscore the need for
Rhode Island to do more to improve the economic vitality of our state
and its residents, especially our African American and Latino
neighbors,” said Kate Brewster, executive director of the Economic
Progress Institute.

One third of Rhode Island Latinos were living in poverty in 2012 as
were more than one-fourth of African Americans. Less than 10 percent of
White Rhode Islanders were impoverished.

Rhode Island should make educating its current and future workforce
the cornerstone of its economic development strategy,”  Brewster said.

Affordable housing, childcare assistance, support for the food bank
and payday loan reform are also needed to reverse this trend, Brewster
said.

Similarly, the number of uninsured Rhode Islanders remained stagnant
with some 125,000 residents without health coverage in 2012. The Ocean
State has the highest rate of uninsured residents in new England.
Massachusetts has the lowest rate of uninsured residents in the nation
at 4.3 percent and Connecticut has the fourth lowest at 9.4 percent.

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