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Poverty rates among local children exceed that of adults, elderly: Census

David Pendered
census, poverty, children The Grove Park Foundation is among those trying to improve the quality of life, and opportunities for, children born into lower-income areas. File/Credit: Grove Park Foundation

By David Pendered

The poverty rate for children in metro Atlanta is in the double digits. The elderly don’t fare much better, in the latest Census estimate that focused on poverty among older U.S. residents.

census, poverty, children

The Grove Park Foundation is among those trying to improve the quality of life, and opportunities for, children born into lower-income areas. File/Credit: Grove Park Foundation

A measurable portion of residents who are in their primary working years were barely able to rise above poverty, according to the Dec. 19 Census report of findings in the American Community Survey.

The ACS is an estimate of trends based on samples of about 3.54 million addresses each year, according to a Census description of the program.

Here are the poverty rates in the five-county core of metro Atlanta:

Children under age 18

  • Clayton – 31 percent;
  • Cobb – 13.6 percent;
  • DeKalb – 26.6 percent;
  • Fulton – 22.1 percent;
  • Gwinnett – 16.2 percent.

Seniors, 65 years and older

  • Clayton – 16.4 percent;
  • Cobb – 6.3 percent;
  • DeKalb – 10.5 percent;
  • Fulton – 10.9 percent;
  • Gwinnett – 8 percent.

Adults, 18 years to 64 years

  • Clayton – 11.1 percent;
  • Cobb – 9.3 percent;
  • DeKalb – 14 percent;
  • Fulton – 13.4 percent;
  • Gwinnett – 9.8 percent.

The ACS report focused on the elderly, a segment that is expected to become more prevalent in metro Atlanta, according to estimates from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

By 2050, an estimated 20 percent of the region’s population is forecast to be older than age 65 and calling for services such as transit and communities that allow them to age in place, according to a draft version of the Regional Transportation Plan.

The Census report hit some national highlights that seem to support anecdotal information in news reports – older folks are continuing to work past the accepted retirement age of 65 years; a rising proportion are continuing to work into their 70s; ; fewer are residing in nursing homes; and just more than half the segment spend more than half their household income on housing.

Here are some bullet points from the report:

  • “Of the 65 years and older population who lived in renter-occupied housing units during 2014-2018, 54.4 percent spent 30 percent or more of their household income on housing costs. Of those 65 and older living in owner-occupied housing units, only 26.3 percent spent 30 percent or more of their household income on housing costs;
  • “Of those 65 years and older living in group quarters, 82.0 percent lived in nursing/skilled nursing facilities, down from 82.8 percent during the 2009-2013 period;
    “During the 2014-2018 ACS, the labor force participation rate for the population ages 65 to 74 years increased to 25.7 percent from 25.2 percent in 2009-2013. For the population aged 75 years and over, the labor force participation rate increased from 5.9 percent in 2009-2013 to 6.6 percent in 2014-2018. For counties and county equivalents with age 65 and older populations of 7,000 or more people, Alexandria City, Va. (30.3 percent), was among those with the largest civilian labor force participation rates for the population age 65 years and over.
  • “Median household income was highest in Hawaii ($65,086) and lowest in Mississippi ($34,275) for households with a householder 65 years and over.”
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David Pendered
David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    ruth Ann forest January 3, 2020 7:02 pm

    I know I am exposing my ignorance;it”s o.k..I only hope it’s worth it;Educate me. I have seen this phrase often in the last few years-and just let it skate.The whole concept of child poverty sounds contrived. a child of the fifties, my income consisted of an allowance and or some pay (WAY below minimum wage) for a chore.($1.00 for car wash $2.00 upholstery, windows-(inside) vacuum carpet cleaning) family car Children have marketable skills to earn an income to be lableled poor? the concept of child poverty sonds like a contrivance for questionable purposes!Report

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