A few facts about poverty that may surprise you.

PovertyI recently attended the Kansas Conference on Poverty hosted by the Kansas Association of Community Action Programs. They do a good job of bringing state and national speakers to discuss the concerns about poverty as well as solutions in our state. We spend a lot of time discussing those same issues in our office. I want to share some of the things that I was surprised to learn.

  • It is the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. In 1967 the poverty rate was 26% and in 2012 it was 16%.
  • The average family spends $2000 a year on food they will never eat.
  • 25% of water is used to grow crops that will never be eaten.
  • In Kansas in 2010 20% of children living below the poverty level were being helped through the state benefit program. In 2011 it was 9%.
  • TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits have not changed in 17 years.
  • No public benefits will cover the cost of disposable diapers. Children cannot go to daycare without disposable diapers.
  • In Kansas a single mother with 2 children working a part-time minimum wage job makes too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Most employer based health insurance is not available to part-time employees.
  • Everyone up to 130% of poverty level is eligible for Medicaid.
  • States that expanded Medicaid decreased the number of uninsured by 29%. Those that didn’t increased the number of uninsured by 5.9%.
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