Poverty Overview

 

Poverty is a complex social concept that can be understood in a variety of ways. This report uses the U.S. Census Bureau’s Official Poverty Measure to study poverty in Forsyth County. According to the official poverty measure, an average family of four would typically be considered poor if their family income is less than $24,230 a year.

Core Concepts

  • The poverty rate in Forsyth County has increased measurably since 2006 and is higher than that of all the comparison communities.
  • Children, minorities, and females are disproportionately impacted by poverty in Forsyth County.

Examining Poverty

This section explores the broad trends of poverty in Forsyth County and compares poverty in Forsyth County to the peer communities.

Figure 1 shows that the poverty rate in Forsyth County in 2014 is 7 percentage points higher than in 2006.

  • The poverty rate in Forsyth County generally increased from 2006 to 2012.
  •  The poverty rate in 2014 is not significantly different than in 2012.

Forsyth County has a poverty rate significantly higher than all the comparison communities except for Roanoke.

The poverty rate of Forsyth County was not higher than the majority of the peer communities until 2012 and Forsyth County had a significantly higher poverty rate than North Carolina and the majority of the peer communities from 2012 to 2014.

2009 data for Roanoke (munc.), VA have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution.

Census tracts with higher rates of poverty are generally located in Winston-Salem around and especially east of Highway 52.

  • Growing up in a high-poverty neighborhood significantly increases children’s risk of being poor as adults (1,2).
  • Many high-poverty neighborhoods experience multiple disadvantages that make it more difficult for residents to escape poverty such as: low-quality public and private sector services (such as child care, grocery stores, and schools), crime and violence, and low access to jobs (3).

Poverty rates in some census tracts have very high levels of variance and should be interpreted with caution.

Poverty by Age

This section examines how people of different ages are affected differently by poverty in Forsyth County.

Figure 5 shows that children and some younger adults are disproportionately impacted by poverty within Forsyth County and have higher poverty rates than in similar communities.

  • Children under the age of 18 and younger adults ages 25 to 44 have higher poverty rates than the majority of comparison communities.
  • Growing up in poverty is associated with a number of negative outcomes for children including poor educational outcomes, poor health, and an increased risk of being poor as adults (4,5).

Bars of a lighter color indicate no statistical difference compared to Forsyth County.

Poverty by Gender

This section breaks down the poverty measure to examine how people of different genders are affected differently by poverty in Forsyth County.

Females have significantly higher rates of poverty than males in Forsyth County.

Poverty by Race/Ethnicity

This section breaks down the poverty measure to examine how people of different races and/or ethnicities are affected differently by poverty in Forsyth County.

There are significant racial disparities in poverty. The poverty rate of Hispanic/Latino residents is higher than the poverty rate of African American residents in Forsyth County, but  the number of African American residents in poverty in Forsyth County is higher than the number of Hispanic/Latino residents in poverty.

  • The poverty rate for Hispanic/Latinos in 2014 is about 43%, which is more than four times that of White, non-Hispanics.
  • Also, the poverty rate for African Americans is about three times higher than that of White, non-Hispanics.
  • Racial disparities in poverty have been persistent since 2006.
  • Poverty rates for Hispanic/Latino and White, non-Hispanics in 2014 are higher than in 2006, whereas for the African American community the poverty rate has remained stable.

Hispanic/Latino residents are the only race/ethnic group to have higher poverty rates than their counterparts in peer communities.

Data for Hispanic/Latino residents for Roanoke and Lafayette County have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution.

Bars of a lighter color indicate no statistical difference compared to Forsyth County.