The number of African Americans living below the poverty line in Kentucky increased in 2012, while the rest of the state’s poverty data showed little or no change. That’s according to the American Community Survey the U.S. Census Bureau released today.
More than a third of African Americans were living in poverty in 2012, up three percentage points from the previous year.
Jason Bailey is the director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He says Kentucky has not returned to prerecession poverty or income levels, and whites are six percentage points below prerecession median income levels. For blacks it’s nine percent lower.
“We’re basically seeing a labor market where those who are most disadvantaged aren’t moving forward, their wages aren’t growing, they aren’t able to either get jobs and certainly not get jobs that pay adequate wages,” he says.
Bailey adds the median income for African Americans is also 60 percent lower than what is earned by whites.