New York Times reporters Annie Lowrey and contributor Alan Flippan detailed Kentucky's unique poverty,
"There are many tough places in this country: the ghost cities of Detroit, Camden and Gary, the sun-baked misery of inland California and the isolated reservations where Native American communities were left to struggle. But in its persistent poverty, Eastern Kentucky - land of storybook hills and drawls - just might be the hardest place to live in the United States, statistically speaking."
The team at The Upshot, a Times news and data-analysis venture, compiled six basic metrics to give a picture of the quality and longevity of life in each county of the nation: educational attainment, household income, jobless rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity rate. Weighting each equally, six counties in eastern Kentucky's coal country (Breathitt, Clay, Jackson, Lee, Leslie and Magoffin) rank among the bottom 10.
Clay County, in dead last, might as well be in a different country. Continue reading the main story
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, one in four Kentucky children lives in poverty. Many hard-working families simply can't make ends meet. This reality negatively impacts the lives of children. In 2012, child poverty in Kentucky was at 26.5%, up from 23.5% in 2008. A family must earn less than $23,283 to be considered impoverished.
In Fayette County, among 18-64 year-olds, 18.9% lived in poverty in 2012, which was higher than the 2008 figures of 14.8%.
The median household income for Kentucky households was $43,399 in 2013, which are the latest figures available as of this posting. That sounds reasonable until one realizes that Kentuckians lag behind the national average which is $52,250. Economically, most Kentuckians can benefit from an economic boost for their households. According to the Brookings Institute, In Kentucky, Being Poor is Costly
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