Sep 17, 2010 7:08 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Poverty Rates on the Rise

The latest U.S. Census figures show poverty rates across the country have risen sharply since last year leaping from 13.2% to 14.3%.

According to government reports, Louisiana has consistently had some of the highest poverty rates in the country.

The most recent study reported Louisiana having a rate of 17.6%. A University of Lousiana sociology professor, George Wooddell, said "we are having a recession and this was bound to happen."

Nearly 30% of children in Louisiana under the age of four are living in poverty.

Wooddell explained, "if you're born into poverty,you're born into a poor neighborhood. If you are in a poor neighborhood, your public schools are going to be the worst."

Sociologist, Eddie Palmer, said, "poverty in the same families and in the same areas are very difficult to combat."

Palmer says an education is the key to climbing out of poverty.

He explained, "the earlier we can connect programs and understanding and energy and to give it to people and children in the community the better off they'll be."

People living in poverty can get themselves out by turning to places like 211 in Acadiana. Executive director of 211, Maria Placer, said her office has seen a spike in phone calls.

Placer said, "we have had an increase in calls and the percentage of increase goes along the percent of increase in national rates."

Placer says it doesn't matter what the problem is....211 will find an avenue for help.

"If you've got utility programs car problems, home problems, don't have food, don't have medicine," she said.




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