JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missourians to End Poverty has released their 2016 State of the State Poverty in Missouri report, showing many moving parts keeping the one in six Missourians in poverty.
The report, compiled in collaboration with the Missourians to End Poverty Coalition by the Missouri Association for Community Action, listed health care costs, work expenses, payroll tax, and federal/state income tax as factors pushing people into poverty.
Additionally, factors listed as keeping people out of poverty are earned income tax credit (EITC) and child tax credits; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); subsidies; National School Lunch Program; Womens, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Of the over 2.5 million Missourians who file tax returns, over 500,000 claim EITC, which refunds taxes for low to moderate income working individuals.
“It is the largest poverty reduction program in the U.S.,” reads the report. The average credit is $2,324.
The groups drew from a variety of public statistical sources to create the report, which was made available throughout the Capitol.
- Of the 5.8 million people living in Missouri, 908,628 live at or below the Federal Poverty Level, which starts at $11,770 for one person. Two members falls at $15,930, three at $20,090, four at $24,250, five at $28,410, and six members at $32,570.
- Counties range from 6.9 percent (St. Charles) to 32.2 percent (Mississippi) impoverished, averaging out to 15.5 percent statewide. Poverty dropped down 0.4 percent from 2014 to 2013.
- Over half the counties of Missouri have 25 percent of more of children under the age of 18 living in poverty.
- There has been a 71.7 percent increase in homeless children.
- Missouri is ranked seventh highest in the nation for food insecurity.
- “Missouri has the seventh highest food insecurity rate in the country, with 16.8 percent of its population classified as food insecure. In addition, 7.9 percent of Missourians have very low food security, meaning there are ‘multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.'”
- Almost 700,000 Missourians are uninsured.
- “693,878 or 11.7 percent of Missourians still do not have insurance. Most Missourians access health care with employer-provided insurance, but in our system of employer-provided insurance, those at the lowest levels of income are rarely provided coverage by their employer.”
- Missouri’s high school graduation rate is 90.15 percent, but some counties are having retention issues.
- St. Louis City has a retention rate of 71.81 percent, while Ralls, Jackson, Pemiscot, and Callaway Counties are all in the mid- to low 80s.
- There has been a 1,118.49 percent increase in housing overcrowding in Missouri.
- In 2000, of 2.1 million housing units, 3,211 were overcrowded.
- In 2013, of 2 million housing units, 39,126 were overcrowded.
- Energy costs increased their share in household budgets from 2001 to 2014, increasing from 16 percent to 26 percent.
The report also outlined education as an effective way to reduce poverty, but said 44.8 percent of Missourians who enroll in college do not graduate and “face significant financial barriers.” Just over a third of Missourians graduate from college in four years.
FEATURED IMAGE/2016 STATE OF THE STATE POVERTY IN MISSOURI – MISSOURIANS TO END POVERTY
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.