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 information is according to the American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau. More than one-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 pre-recession poverty or income levels, and whites are six percentage points below pre-recession median income levels. For African Americans, it’s nine percent lower.
“We’re basically seeing a labor market where those who are most disadvantaged are not moving forward, their wages aren’t growing, they aren’t able to either get jobs, and certainly not get jobs that pay adequate wages.” –Jason Bailey
Bailey adds the median income for African Americans is also 60 percent lower than what is earned by whites.