Tri-Cities kids are behind economically
by Lewis Loflin
I have just updated this page for October 2006. The per capita income has gone up in the region, but the number of children falling behind is getting worse. The best explanation is the growth of retirement communities and move-in retirees. They have much higher income than many working local people, but also drive up the cost of living. In 2007 Washington County VA is the wealthiest county in Southwest VA, but the free/reduced lunch rate is 40%.
New Data 2012
Explaining poverty by the numbers
2008 ranked the region with inner-city slums on issues such as health, income, education. That was in 2008, it was true in 1998 and in 1988. In 2012 it's more of the same with no end in sight.
Let's begin our journey with a new study released by Voices for Virginia's Children (www.vakids.org) revealing the ten most impoverished Virginia communities in regards to children, which no surprise again includes Bristol:
Danville city - 41.7% - 43,055 people, White 46.7%, Black 48.3%.
Virginia pop. 8,001,024 - 64.8% Non-Hispanic White, 19.4% African-American, 7.9% Hispanic, 5.5% Asian, so by the numbers; white: 5.18 million; black: 1.55 million; Hispanic: 632,000: Asian: 440,000.
So according to vakids.org going by race 28 percent of black kids, 18 percent of Hispanics, and 10 percent of white kids, and 9 percent of Asian kids live in poverty defined by the unrealistic number of $22,000 for a family of four. (I believe it's much higher than that.) That's 518,000 poor white kids, 434,000 poor black kids, and 113,760 poor Hispanic kids, and 39,600 Asian kids.
None of these ten communities listed above had a substantial Asian or Hispanic populations. There are two factors that determine child poverty in my view and that's unwed motherhood and income. It's clear in those communities with large black population, they will have high child poverty rates because of the collapse of the black family. www.bvblackspin.com claims 72 percent of black kids live in single parent homes.
Besides the economic problems, social breakdown makes the situation worse. Poor people can't afford these problems because they llack the resources to deal with them. According to www.bvblackspin.com, homes without fathers ultimately affect children in numerous tragic ways:
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
To further quote,
Compared to the 72 percent in our communities, 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. The rate for the overall U.S. population was 41 percent.
The full article is here.
For blacks this is compounded in many areas by the large influx of Hispanics displacing disproportionate numbers of blacks from low-end jobs. With no private sector job growth since 1999 (New York Times), and the deluge of legal/illegal immigration, somebody has to lose. The meat packing industry in the Shenandoah Valley for example once employed large numbers of blacks at good wages, today employ illegal aliens at low pay.
Liberals scorn traditional values that once kept poor people from excessive self-destructive behavior they could ill afford. The decline of traditional values across the board combined with a low-wage economy is a disaster that has come to this region. Bristol, Galax, Lee County, and Buchanan are nearly 100 percent white, yet are suffering many of the same problems as blacks.
New Data for 2006
Tennessee Per capita income 2002: Carter: $20,233 Hawkins: $21,564 Johnson: $16,269 Sullivan: $26,306 Percent of People Receiving Food Stamps: Carter: 16.2% Hawkins: 14.9% Johnson: 18.6% Sullivan: 11.9% Percent of Students Participating in Free/Reduced Lunch Program 2003: Carter: 45.2% Hawkins: 42.5% Johnson: 53.8% Sullivan: 29.9% Virginia Per Capita Income 2004: Bristol* $26,483 Buchanan $22,960 Dickenson $18,391 Lee $21,357 Russell $21,311 Scott $21,481 Smyth $23,113 Tazewll $23,787 Washington* Wise $22,240
The annual Kids Count report, published by the Maryland-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, a children's advocacy group, ranked Tennessee 43rd overall. Virginia fared much better, at 14th. Using the number of students approved for federally assisted school lunch programs, the report showed that the number of poor children in the region has. climbed steadily in the past couple of years.
Quoting Diane Wise, regional coordinator for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, "I feel like (the economy) is the greatest issue. We've had so many plants and industries closing down, and people have moved to lower-wage jobs. "We do not have the high-paying jobs that we need in this area. The federal National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced-price lunches to children from low-income families. A higher percentage of children enrolled in the program indicate an increasing rate of poverty.
...Every county in Southwest Virginia except Dickenson saw an increase between 1995 and 2002 in the percentage of children approved for free or reduced-price school meals. All had higher percentages than the state average of 32. Buchanan County (a declining coal mining community) saw the greatest increase in the area 12 percentage points bringing its rate to 69 percent. It was one of the highest rates in the state. Tazewell and Wise (also coal mining communities) counties had 11 percentage point increases to 47 percent and 48 percent, respectively during the same tune span. Russell County had a 7 percentage point jump to 47 percent.
In Northeast Tennessee, multiple localities saw increased rates of children participating in the meals program since 1998. Sullivan County, including Bristol TN, saw a 1 percentage point hike to 31 percent, while Hawkins County had a 4 percentage point jump to 41 percent. The state average was 36 percent. Kids Count statistics also show that while the percentage of children on the meals program has risen, the total number of people in the area has declined - an indicator that those making money are moving away leaving a more destitute demographic behind.
Ref BHC July 18, 2004
ON THE NET Kids Count at www.kidscount.org Per Capita Income Definitions: Aggregate income for a locality divided by the total number of individuals in the locality. Note: Per capita income is often used as a measure of the wealth of the population of locality or state, particularly in comparison to other localities or states. Per capita income gives no indication of the distribution of that income within the state or locality, so a small wealthy class can increase the measured per-capita income far above that of the majority of the population. * Bristol and Washington County have been combined, masking the huge income drop in Bristol. Washington County has a very wealthy community in Abingdon and South Holston Lake.
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