FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2016
Concord, NH – New data released today by the US Census Bureau finds that New Hampshire’s poverty rate declined to 8.2 percent in 2015, a drop of one percent since 2014. New Hampshire once again ranked first for the lowest state poverty rate in the country.
“While New Hampshire maintains the lowest poverty rate in the nation at 8.2 percent, this figure demonstrates that there are still far too many Granite State families struggling to achieve economic stability,” said John F. Shea, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute.
The official poverty threshold understates the degree of economic insecurity in New Hampshire and elsewhere, as a family of three is considered “not poor” if it earns a collective income of $20,000. Due to a relatively high cost of living, New Hampshire families require a significantly higher level of income in order to afford housing, child care, health care, transportation, and food, among other basic necessities.
NHFPI’s recent report, Taking the Measure of Need in the Granite State, outlines the shortcomings of the official poverty measures and examines alternate methods of assessing what it takes to afford a modest standard of living in various regions of the state. The report also finds that a sizeable number of jobs do not pay wages sufficient for many New Hampshire families to be able to make ends meet.
“These latest findings underscore the need for policy changes to ensure that all Granite State families and children have the supports they need to achieve economic stability and to have the opportunity to succeed, “ said Shea. “New Hampshire could take steps to bolster wages and to ensure all families have access to affordable child care, which will enable them to remain in the workforce, acquire new skills and training, and access improved employment opportunities.”
The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Learn more at www.nhfpi.org.
603-856-8337, ext. 2