Poverty rates up in Greensboro and Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.– According to a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau Economic Survey all 5 of North Carolina’s largest cities including Winston-Salem and Greensboro saw a jump in poverty rates. 

In Winston-Salem it’s now estimated that more than 24.1% of people are living in poverty. 38.1% of people under 18 are living in poverty. 

In Greensboro the report shows 19.6% are living below poverty levels. 19.6% of people under 18 are living in poverty.

Across the country poverty is typically defined by a family of four living on an annual income of less than $23,000 a year.

Monique Freeney of The Salvation Army in Winston-Salem says while the numbers seem high to some, to her they are not a surprise. “Not at all it doesn’t surprise us at all,” she says.

Freeney says this year The Salvation Army’s Emergency Assistance programs average about 90 clients a day.  The Center of Hope Family Shelter over 100 people, half children, every single day. 

Freeney says they are seeing more first time clients and more families living together to cut down on costs. “We are seeing that they are living together grandparents and children kids coming home from college trying to make ends meet,” explained Freeney.

While the report doesn’t give reasons for the 4% increase in Winston-Salem poverty since 2010, Freeney and others say a lack of jobs and a lack of decent paying jobs is to blame. 

For more information on the report to look at other cities in our state check out,    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2011/index.html.

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