A Deeper Look at Poverty in Arkansas
The Poverty Divide in Arkansas
According to the USDA, Arkansas has a poverty rate of 18.9 percent and a child poverty rate of 26 percent, with poverty levels continuing to rise throughout the state. AETN is working to further the discussion about poverty and opportunity in Arkansas in "A Deeper Look: The Poverty Divide in Arkansas."
This program will address the struggles of those living in poverty in the state and the organizations and resources available to help. A family will share their story of survival in trying times, and other segments will focus on Veterans Villages of America, poverty in urban and rural areas, food insecurity and more.
The American Dream in Arkansas
"We wanted this to be a completely reflective process," AETN Producer and Blytheville native Kevin Clark said. "We wanted to let the people in these towns tell us their thoughts; it is their town, so it is their story."
In "A Deeper Look: The American Dream in Arkansas," AETN visits two cities facing unique struggles. Most would agree that Blytheville and Pine Bluff have both seen better times - bustling downtown areas, vibrant social scenes and good economies. The downtown streets of both cities are eerily quiet these days. Once beautiful, ornate buildings sit exposed to the elements. At first glance, reflecting on the glory days of these cities, it would appear that the American dream in Arkansas is dead or dying. AETN looks deeper by spending two weeks immersed in each city, uncovering stories that shed light on the state of the American dream in Arkansas. The result is a half-hour examination of the state of the American dream in the Arkansas Delta.
In "Dream On," political comedian John Fugelsang hits the road to retrace the journey of French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville who traveled across our young country in 1831, and wrote Democracy in America, defining America as a place where anyone of any background could climb the ladder of economic opportunity. For more information, visit pppdocs.com/dreamon.html.Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional support provided by Arlene and Alan Alda, the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation, Odyssey Fund, Park Foundation, Silverweed Foundation, and Spunk Fund, Inc.
"A Deeper Look: The American Dream in Arkansas" screening at Arkansas Northeastern College
Information below comes from TalkPoverty.org. Statistics are based on data from 2014. Overall Population: 2,882,856 | Number In Poverty: 543,882
- 18.9% of Arkansans had incomes below the poverty line.* (Ranked 46th)**
- 26% of children under 18 are in families below the poverty line. (Ranked 45th)
- 20.4% of working-age women (ages 18-64) have incomes below the poverty line. (Ranked 46th)
- 33.2% of African Americans are below the poverty line.
- 16.9% of Asian Americans below the poverty line.
- 31.3% of Latinos are below the poverty line.
- 15.7% of Native Americans are below the poverty line.
- 14.7% income inequality. The ratio of the share of income going to the top 20 percent of households and the share of income going to the bottom 20 percent of households. (Ranked 25th)
- 6.1% unemployment (Ranked 26th)
- 85% of high school students who graduated on time. (Ranked 17th)
- 19% of disconnected youth (ages 18-24) who were not in school or working. (Ranked 42nd)
- 30% of young adults (ages 25-34) who had an associate’s degree or higher. (Ranked 50th)
- 78.1¢ gender wage gap. (Ranked 32nd)
- 5 out of every 1,000 children live apart from their parents in foster care. (Ranked 20th)
- 43.5 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19. (Ranked 51st)
- 19.9% experience difficulty providing food due to a lack of money or resources. (Ranked 50th)
- 73 apartments were affordable/available for every 100 renter households with very low incomes.***
- 11.2% of households use high-cost, high-risk forms of credit to make ends meet.**** (Ranked 46th)
- 29.9% of unemployed workers were helped by unemployment insurance. (Ranked 21st)
- 20.9% of people under age 65 and below the poverty line who did not have health insurance. (Ranked 24th)
* Poverty line: $23,834 for a family of four.
** Rank compared to national percentages.
*** Very low-income households are those at or below half of median income in the area where they live.
**** High-risk forms of credit include payday loans, automobile title loans, refund anticipation loans, rent-to-own, and pawning.
The lists below are not exhaustive. For a more complete list of resources, please contact your local United Way office to find out what resources are available in your area.