In 2010, a family of four could earn $22,114 per year and still not be considered as living in poverty. And despite that low level of income, almost 1 in 6 Americans were below that threshold. (And even these official statistics underestimate the true extent of poverty.)
At a poverty level of 40.4%, Allendale is listed as the 10th poorest county in the nation. The average (median) household income of $24,615 is only slightly higher than the poverty line.
Do you want a nice challenge? Work out a family budget based on $2000 per month.
And it has gotten worse. In 2007, Allendale County was at 36.8%, for an increase of 3.6% in 4 years. This county-by-county map of poverty rates shows how things got worse (or better?!) between 2007 and 2010.
You can also note that neighboring Barnwell County had the highest increase in poverty rate in South Carolina, going from 21.8% to 30.4%. By comparison, Greenville increased from 12.2% to 15.4%. Lexington County, where I grew up, has one of the lowest poverty levels in the SC, at 12.9%.
But whatever statistics you look at, remember that poverty is not just about a lack of money, but is about a lack of hope and opportunity. And before you casually dismiss the poor, think about how Poverty itself is a thief.
Click over to the map, and let us know: how has the poverty level changed where you live now, or where you grew up?
If you are interested in statistics and maps like this, check out these two: