Poverty in North CarolinaThis is a featured page

Rachel Thalman and Linnea Swarting

Poverty in North Carolina - Poverty Solutions

With a poverty rate of 13.8%, North Carolina has the 14th highest poverty rate in the United States.

North Carolina is one of the only states where critical poverty rates are found in so many different types of counties and major cities.

The counties of North Carolina that experience critical poverty rates are rural counties, urban counties, and counties with major Native American reservations within them

Forsyth County (where UNCSA is located)- Persons below the poverty level (2006-2010) 15.3%

Wake County, home to the capital, has the lowest proportion with 1 in 8 people living in poverty. Vance County (30 minutes away) has the highest proportion with one third of their population living in poverty.

North Carolina has 100 counties. There is poverty in every one of them. The recent recession and struggling economy has not benefited the statewide dilemma. Some counties have managed to provide assistance and support to their citizens that have allowed them to survive a little bit better than others.

Because of the massive amount of job losses that occured in 2001, the U.S poor population increased to a total of 32.9 million.

Poverty in North Carolina - Poverty Solutions
Poverty Lines

The federal government provides a useful starting point by publishing annual "poverty lines" for every family size. Poverty line is the estimated minimum level of income needed to secure the necessities of life. If a family's income is below the poverty line for its size, the family is considered poor. The poverty line for a family of four in 2011 was $22,314. Families struggle to get by on this.

NC Community Action Association

The North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) is the statewide association of North Carolina's 36 Community Action Agencies and six single-purpose agencies. These organizations are largely federally funded nonprofits with a common mission: to help low-income people become self-sufficient.

NCCAA seeks to give voice to the needs, concerns and stories of the state's disadvantaged and low-income citizens. Their aim is to broaden economic and social horizons for the unemployed, underemployed, those who lack education or job skills, those who suffer mental or physical handicaps and those who are disenfranchised due to age.

Community Action Agencies are nonprofit organizations created by President Johnson’s signing of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. This Act says that low-income individuals can best identify the problems their communities face and also develop solutions to help resolve the issues.

NCCAA was organized in November of 1966 shortly after the passage of legislation chartering and funding Community Action Agencies in North Carolina and many other states.

Recognizing the need for a statewide organization representing Community Action Agencies, leaders of several of these agencies in North Carolina met in Chapel Hill and formed NCCAA. Officials at NCCAA quickly pledged cooperation with all statewide groups interested in improving opportunities for North Carolina's most vulnerable residents. It received its charter in January of 1967. Today, NCCAA's membership is open to agencies, employees of these agencies and interested citizens.

The Promise of Community Action

Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. They care about the entire community and they are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

NCCAA is the most effective, resource rich, statewide advocacy organization in NC. They collaborate to build a strong network of diverse members. They have a national reputation for their outstanding leadership, innovation and the ability to produce results.

• Right to self-determination and equal access to opportunities leading to economic sufficiency.

• Dynamic leaders who build community consensus to challenge/change conditions that keep people poor.


• Open communication across organizational lines and diverse opinions as we make decisions.

• Members who demonstrate ongoing dedication, perseverance, compassion and the spirit of community action.

• Professional integrity that ensures unquestionable stewardship of public assets and trust.

• Quality services that measure and achieve results.

Video: http://www.nccaa.net/About-NCCAA.aspx

Poverty in North Carolina - Poverty Solutions

Poverty in North Carolina - Poverty Solutions

Children in poverty:

The number of children in N.C. living in poverty (household income of less than $22,050 for a family of four) increased 18 percent between 2007 and 2009. Now more than one in every five children in North Carolina lives in poverty. Most disturbing is that the number of the state's children living in extreme poverty (roughly $11,000 for a family of four per year) increased by 25 percent from 2007-2009.

What can you do to help?

Register to attend Face to Face With Poverty events:


Donate to NCCAA:


Poverty in North Carolina - Poverty Solutions


  1. http://www.nccaa.net/About-NCCAA.aspx
  2. http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/16/1776263/poverty-in-nc-the-real-numbers.html
  3. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/37000.html
  4. http://www.sog.unc.edu/sites/www.sog.unc.edu/files/article2_10.pdf

Our Opinion:
Poverty is a very serious issue in all the states in the U.S. No one deserves to go to bed hungry or to have to worry about how to provide food for their family. As human beings, we should have the right to be relieved of the burden of being unable to pay for food, a basic necessity of life. We both feel that, even though North Carolina is not the state with the highest percentage of poverty, actions should be taken to eliminate poverty in this state. More organizations should be created to raise awareness in the N.C community and raise money for families in poverty.

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