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People living in poverty areas by state, 2010. Big band of dark blue across the entire south.
The South has never been America's bright spot when it comes to things like poverty and health outcomes, but recent years show that there's always room for things to get worse:
North Carolina and a handful of other Southern U.S. states saw the biggest increases in the number of people living in what are known as "poverty areas" between 2000 and 2010, according to a new Census Bureau report. Poverty areas are places where more than 20 percent of the people live below the federal poverty line, which varies by family size. For a family of four, the poverty line in most states is an annual income of $23,850. [...]

Note that Southern states were five of the six biggest gainers. This should not be much of a shock, as Southern states consistently lag the rest of the country in good things like wages, economic mobility and access to health care, while leading it in bad things like poverty, obesity and general unhappiness. Another thing Southern states have in common is Republican political leaders that have spent the past decade shrinking the social safety net.

It's terribly sad and kind of a blot on the entire country that such a large region of the country could have such high poverty. But what's worse is that Republicans want to expand the policies that heighten the distress in the South across the entire country.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia and Daily Kos.

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