Tag Archives: poverty

Haslam says state will help push to cut Memphis poverty rate by 10 percentage points

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and other Memphis official smet with Gov. Bill Haslam and nearly half his cabinet Friday to talk about Wharton’s push to cut the city’s poverty rate by 10 percent in 10 years, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The mayor, city housing and community development director Robert Lipscomb and others told the governor and state officials they weren’t there asking for money but rather a “full partnership” with the state on the city’s “Blueprint for Prosperity,” a new approach to helping move more Memphis residents out of poverty. Its goal: cutting the city’s poverty rate from 27 percent to 17 percent in 10 years.

The plan takes a holistic approach to helping individuals and families increase income by creating jobs with living wages and reducing costs of living — through housing, transportation, education, health and other services.

“It’s not always a matter of being poor. Sometimes it’s about spending poorly,” Wharton said, recalling experiences as Shelby County’s longtime public defender.

…The mayor wants to integrate the work of a broad range of state agencies with similar services at the local level. As a result, Friday’s participants included the commissioners or other top representatives of the state departments of Transportation, Human Services, Mental Health, Health, Education, Environment and Conservation and Economic and Community Development, along with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the state’s Achievement School District, which operates several Memphis schools.

…The governor pledged the partnership and told the Memphis group he appreciates the approach and of involving the state “on the front end” of a long-range plan. He commended city officials for engaging cabinet members instead of just the governor’s office.

“We want to be your partner. For Tennessee to do well, Memphis has to do well. We realize there’s some unique challenges there that other places don’t face. We get that. There’s no overnight deal here. A long-term strategy is where we can help,” said Haslam, the former mayor of Knoxville.

…After the session in a Capitol conference room, Haslam said his administration has “been working hand in hand with Memphis as they work toward a new blueprint on a lot of issues, whether it is health issues, education, crime and others. So what I salute them for is reaching out up front and saying let’s be part of a plan together instead of calling us on the back end.

“There’s clear roles of what local governments should do and what the state can do, but we need to make certain that we’re utilizing all the resources we have. We are literally working on a strategy to say who’s going to do what to make sure that Memphis is the greatest city it can be.”

Listing of poverty rate, health care campaign money in districts of senators voting on Insure TN

Data from the U.S. Census and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows large percentages of the people living in districts represented by the state senators who killed Gov. Bill Halsam’s Insure Tennessee plan would have benefited from the legislation, according to The Tennessean.

Also, using figures from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the article reports some of the lawmakers also received significant campaign contributions from the health care industry, which largely supported the Insure Tennessee plan.

Here’s a condensed version of the article’s review listing members on the special session Senate Health Committee who voted no on Insure Tennessee:
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Memphis deemed nation’s poorest Metro area

Memphis sank further into poverty last year, reclaiming its status as the nation’s poorest large metropolitan area, and the long-standing economic gulf between races widened even more, reports the Commercial Appeal, citing an analysis of census data by a University of Memphis researcher.

The poverty rate for the eight-county metro area ticked up from 19.3 to 19.9 percent, making it the poorest among metro areas with populations of at least 1 million, and the rate within Memphis city limits rose from 27.2 to 28.3 percent, according to figures compiled by Elena Delavega, assistant professor of social work. Memphis also had had the highest poverty rate among large metro areas in 2010, but New Orleans had taken over that distinction the following year.

The problem remained greatest among children, with just under 30 percent of the metro area’s under-18 population living in poverty. That rate also was the highest among large metro areas.

Embedded in the new figures was a continuing dichotomy: African-Americans in Memphis and Shelby County have higher poverty rates than the state and national averages for black people, while local non-Hispanic white residents have lower rates than those for the white populations of Tennessee and the U.S.

In fact, the poverty rate for white residents in the city and county declined for a third straight year to 11.9 and 8.7 percent, respectively, while rates for black people — 33.6 percent in the city and 30.3 percent countywide — remained virtually unchanged. Among Hispanic residents, the poverty rate was 43.1 percent in Memphis and 35.6 percent countywide.

More TN Kids Growing Up in High Poverty Areas

One in every eight Tennessee children is growing up in a high poverty community, according to data snapshot released this week by the Annie E. Casey Kids Count project.
More from the News Sentinel:
“The concern is there are reduced opportunities they have to be successful in school and in life,” said Linda O’Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.
….The report — which highlights newly available national, state, and city data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey — found that one-fourth of Tennessee children live in poverty.
The snapshot indicates how high-poverty communities are harmful to children, outlines regions in which concentrated poverty has grown the most, and offers recommendations to address these issues.
O’Neal said her agency is familiar with the numbers but was surprised to see that the number of children in concentrated poverty areas had doubled since 2000.
From 2006 to 2010, about 200,000 Tennessee children lived in concentrated poverty areas, or communities where 30 percent or more of the children live in poverty.
O’Neal said she believes that is because of the effect of the recent recession and the state’s high unemployment rate.
One of the things that sets Tennessee apart from other states, she said, is its poverty is in both urban and rural areas of the state, from Memphis and Nashville to the Appalachian community

Census Data: Memphis Poorest Metro Area in the Nation

With nearly one in five residents stuck below the poverty line, metropolitan Memphis ranks as by far the most impoverished large metro area in the nation, according to new census figures reported by the Commercial Appeal.
Of the 1.3 million people in the eight-county metro area, an estimated 246,265 — 19.1 percent — lived in poverty last year, according to figures released Thursday from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
That poverty rate, although a slight improvement from the 19.4 percent estimate for 2009, was the highest among the 51 U.S. metro areas with populations of at least 1 million. Metropolitan New Orleans, with an estimated 17.4 percent of residents living in poverty, had the second-highest rate.