According to the American Community Survey – which the Census Bureau now recommends using to understand economic trends at the state and sub-state level – New Hampshire’s overall poverty rate was 10 percent in 2012, up from 8.8 percent in 2011 and higher than the 7.1 percent rate that obtained in 2007, prior to the Great Recession. All told, roughly 128,500 New Hampshire residents had incomes below the poverty line in 2012.
Of that total, approximately 40,500 were children under the age of 18 living with their families. In other words, 15.1 percent of all such children lived in poverty in 2012. This rate, too, is up from its 2011 level of 11.7 percent and remains above its 2007 level of 8.3 percent.
The latest Census data also suggest that the real purchasing power of the income for the typical New Hampshire household has shown no improvement over the course of the economic recovery. In 2012, New Hampshire’s median household income was $63,280, which after adjusting for inflation and taking statistical significance into account was no different than what it was in 2011. However, it is almost $6,000 less than the income of the median New Hampshire household in 2007; that year, after adjusting for inflation, it was close to $69,100.
To be sure, New Hampshire continues to fare better than most states by these measures. Its poverty rate remains among the lowest in the nation, while the income for the typical household here is among the highest. Nevertheless, if New Hampshire is to reverse these trends, it will require renewed attention by state policymakers to the circumstances working Granite Staters face each day.