Alabama

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Below is a set of key data indicators related to poverty. For the original sources, click on the data point.

Poverty by demographic

  • Child poverty rate: 27%
  • Senior poverty rate: 10%
  • Women in poverty: 20.1%
  • Percent of single-parent families with related children that are below poverty: 45%
  • Number of Black children below 200% poverty: 247,000

Economic well-being

  • Poverty rate: 18.7%
  • Extreme poverty rate: 8.4%
  • Unemployment rate: 7%
  • Food insecurity: 16.7%
  • Low-income families that work: 37.3%
  • Minimum Wage: No minimum wage law
  • Percent of jobs that are low-wage: 33%
  • Percent of individuals who are uninsured: 14%
  • Number of Black children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment: 175,000

Family

  • Teen birth rate per 1,000: 43.6
  • Children living in single parent families: 40%
  • Children in foster care: 5,350
  • Percent of children in immigrant families: 7%
  • Number of grandparents raising grandchildren: 117,763

Assets

  • Asset poverty rate: 24.3%
  • Unbanked households: 10.2%
  • Average college graduate debt: $26,450

Education

  • Individuals with a high school degree: 82.1%
  • Individuals with a four year college degree: 23.3%
  • Teens ages 16 to 19 not attending school and not working: 11%
  • Percent of college students with debt: 56%
  • High school graduation rate: 71.8%

Housing

  • Total households: 1,831,269
  • Renters: 29%
  • Households paying more than 30% of income on housing: 251,406
  • Homeless people: 5,209
  • Home foreclosure rate: 1.77%

Justice System

  • Number of youth residing in juvenile justice and correctional facilities: 1,328
  • Total incarcerated (prison and jail): 32,431

Participation in federal programs

  • Adults and Children receiving welfare (TANF): 50,757
  • Children receiving food stamps (SNAP): 392,000
  • EITC recipients: 528,000
  • Households receiving federal rental assistance: 95,636
  • Families receiving child care subsidies: 13,900
  • Participants in all Head Start programs: 20,237
  • Number of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP: 979,066
  • Number of women and children receiving WIC (Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program): 141,900
  • Households receiving LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program): 155,155

State governments play a significant role in developing policies that help support low-income families. Below is a list of some key Alabama policies and a link to an organization that tracks the issue.

Tax & Asset-Building Policy

Family and Work Supports

Education

Below is a list of reports about poverty and opportunity in the state. If you have a state report you’d like featured on this page, please email Tamanna@thehatchergroup.com.


Tax & Budget Policy

Big Piece of a Small Pie: Alabama’s Tax Paradox

Chris Sanders, Ford Foundation, Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, February 2010

The 2009 Tax Fairness Amendment: Answers to Some Common Questions

Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, March 2009

Asset-Building

State Profile: Alabama

CFED, 2011

Families & Children

The State of Poverty and Opportunity in Alabama

Half in Ten, October 2011

Same Work, Less Pay: The Wage Gap in Alabama

Chris Sanders, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, January 2011

Annual Report 2009-2010

Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, 2010

The State of Working Alabama 2010

Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, 2010

Cushioning the Blow: ARRA’s Direct Assistance to Alabama’s Working Families

Ron Gilbert, Arise Citizens’ Policy Project, July 2010

Arise Policy Choices 2010 Opening the Door: The Alabama Housing Trust Fund

Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, 2010

Stuck: Low-Wage Jobs Are Holding Alabama Back

Stephen Stetson, Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, Working Poor Families Project, September 2010

Don’t Make Hard Times Worse: Congress Should Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance for a Full Year

Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, November 2010

VOICES for Alabama’s Children: 2010 Legislative Report

VOICES for Alabama’s Children, 2010

Insult to Injury: Alabama’s Lingering Katrina Challenge

Stephen Stetson, Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, July 2009

Education 

A Stronger Nation through Education: Alabama

Lumina Foundation, March 2012

Catching Up: Adult Paths to a High School Education

Stephen Stetson, Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, Working Poor Families Project, November 2010

Tuscaloosa News, October 22, 2014: Free legal clinic offered for low-income residents of Tuscaloosa County

"The clinic is open to the more than 40,000 low-income residents of Tuscaloosa County coping with civil legal challenges. The clinic lawyers are experienced in various areas of the law and will be available to answer questions about divorce, custody and visitation, landlord and tenant issues, wills and estates, debts, bankruptcy, foreclosure and domestic violence."

The Sherwood Park News, June 17, 2014: Local Poverty Simulation aims to increase awareness and understanding

“Strathcona County’s Family and Community Services (FCS) recently teamed up with United Way to host an eye-opening simulation. The event was called the Poverty Simulation, and it enabled participants to experience the difficulties and tribulations of Strathcona County’s low-income families.”

The Fort McMurray Today, April 22, 2014: Poverty simulation to tackle local issues

“Discussing the realities of the working poor and the minimum wage versus living wage debate, a number of local social profit groups have come together for the region’s first poverty simulation and community conversation.”

The Huntsville Times, April 21, 2014: (Blog) Report ranks Alabama as nation's seventh poorest state; almost one-fifth live in poverty

“Alabama ranks as the nation's seventh poorest state based on the percentage of people who live in poverty, according to a report issued today by Alabama Possible, a nonprofit group that works to draw attention to poverty and its causes. A family of four earning less than $23,850 is considered to be in poverty, according to the report.”

The Washington Times, April 11, 2014: Alabama enacts restrictions on welfare

“Alabama has enacted new laws setting stricter requirements for welfare, including requiring applicants to apply for three jobs before getting aid. Gov. Robert Bentley signed four bills Thursday that were passed by legislators at the end of their 2014 session.”

The Huntsville Times, March 12, 2014: (Op-Ed) Minimum wage increase would benefit everyone in Alabama

“This week, the Alabama State Legislature will take up a bill that would drastically improve life in Alabama – for all its citizens. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Darrio Melton, would gradually raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $9.80/hour over the next two years.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, February 26, 2014: Ala. Senate passes limited welfare drug testing

“The Alabama Senate is trying to enact stricter welfare regulations, including mandating drug testing for some welfare applicants.”

The Montgomery Advertiser, January 30, 2014: Taking a count of Montgomery's homeless

“Through west Montgomery streets, the homeless approached a van marked with The Friendship Mission, a name synonymous in this community with shelter, food and prayer. The annual point-in-time count through the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless is meant to count the homeless population in the River Region.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, January 22, 2014: Alabama legislators seek tougher welfare rules

“Two Alabama senators are finding support for bills aimed at toughening the laws on welfare benefits, including requiring drug testing of some welfare applicants.”

The Mobile Register, January 15, 2014: (Blog) Gov. Robert Bentley: Unapologetic on Medicaid, says Obamacare 'taking nation deeper into the abyss of debt'

“Alabama’s doctor governor lashed out at the Affordable Care Act for part of his State of the State address tonight, saying Alabama's struggles with poverty can't be solved by ‘the net of federal government giveaway programs.’”

The San Francisco Chronicle, January 14, 2014: Bentley defends decision not to expand Medicaid

“Gov. Robert Bentley began the election-year session of the Alabama Legislature by defending his decision not to expand the state Medicaid program and by presenting better education and more jobs as the best strategy for escaping poverty.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, January 14, 2014: Text: Gov. Robert Bentley's address to lawmakers

“The poorest county in the United States of America is located just 73 miles from where we sit tonight.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, January 12, 2014: Bill to require some welfare drug testing in Ala.

“An Alabama senator says he will push legislation requiring drug testing of some welfare applicants even though a court struck down a similar law in Florida.”

The Birmingham Business Journal, December 12, 2013: Who will be eligible for Medicaid in Alabama next year?

“Despite calls asking Alabama to reverse course, the reality is that the state has so far decided against participating in a Medicaid expansion slated to go into effect in less than a month.”

The Birmingham Business Journal, October 22, 2013: Report: Birmingham has weak safety net for uninsured

“Many of Birmingham's low-income uninsured adults are expected to continue having trouble finding care despite the ongoing implementation of health care reform.”

The Birmingham News, October 17, 2013: (Blog) Kaiser study: 191,000 Alabamians fall into 'coverage gap' between Medicaid and Obamacare

“About 191,000 people in Alabama fall into the ‘coverage gap’ between Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, according to a study released today by the Kaiser Foundation. “

The Montgomery Advertiser, October 09, 2013: (Op-Ed) Alabama Voices: Look at merits of Medicaid expansion

“In the case of the Medicaid expansion, which would extend coverage to Alabamians at or below 138 percent of the poverty line (and raise our Medicaid participation from 1 in 5 Alabamians to 1 in 3), Alabama lawmakers and economists should be thinking in terms of return on investment: Does the value of expanding Medicaid exceed the $1.5 billion annual cost?”

The Montgomery Advertiser, September 15, 2013: (Op-Ed) Elderly need more healthcare options

“While independence may become more challenging with age, a little assistance can go a long way in keeping people safely in their own homes. Alabama’s Medicaid program should make this a priority in its spending for long-term care.”

The Decatur Daily, September 2, 2013: Bentley stands ground on Medicaid

“If it’s broke, don’t expand it. That’s Gov. Robert Bentley’s position on broadening Medicaid and making it available to more than 300,000 additional Alabamians under the Affordable Care Act.”

The Decatur Daily, August 22, 2013: (Editorial) Helping the children of poverty

“The level of need in Alabama is staggering. The reluctance to provide assistance to adults is unfortunate, but at least the community is able to join together to help the children.”

The Birmingham Business Journal, August 12, 2013: Why Alabama's refusal to expand Medicaid could have some inflating their earnings

“Those who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level – $15,870 for an individual – were initially expected to qualify for Medicaid under health reform, but those plans changed when the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion optional for each state.”

The Montgomery Advertiser, August 11, 2013: Parents key to fighting obesity in children

“A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a decline in childhood obesity numbers in low-income preschool children. While Alabama numbers have not changed over the past few years — more than 67,000 obese low-income preschoolers were reported in 2011 — state and local experts continue working to provide practical and affordable ways parents can help their children fight this disease — or to prevent it from even developing.”

The Decatur Daily, August 06, 2013: (Editorial) Blaming the poor

“A conservative philosophy that’s all the rage among Alabama politicians is that the poor are to blame for the costs they impose on society. It’s a convenient philosophy, but it ignores the reality: Especially in Alabama, changes in the economy are creating a growing class of people who cannot escape poverty because the only available jobs pay too little to sustain them.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 27, 2013: Shoals homeless don’t always fit stereotypes

“What does homelessness look like in northwest Alabama? The answer is not the stereotyped cardboard box under a bridge. Instead, it is typically people whose jobs have vanished, or whose family circumstances won't allow a regular roof over their heads. In some cases, drug, alcohol and mental illness issues are at the root of the problem.”

The Decatur Daily, July 02, 2013: (Op-Ed) Supporting the children of poverty

“The children of poverty can grow into amazing assets to society, like Glover, or they can turn to violence. Both for the child’s sake and for that of society, Alabama needs to increase its focus on the many children who are not blessed with family support.”

The Montgomery Advertiser, June 27, 2013: Bright futures begin at home

“On Monday, June 24th, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its annual Kids Count Data Book and Alabama is no longer in the bottom five in the nation for overall child well-being. While this is something to celebrate, we still have a long way to go when it comes to child poverty and parents’ economic security. According to the Data Book, Alabama’s child poverty rate is 28 percent, or 307,000 of Alabama’s children. Unfortunately, this is nothing new.”

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, June 25, 2013: (Op-Ed) No surprise: Kids still fare poorly in poorer places

“There's seldom much ‘good’ news in any index of child poverty, even when some numbers indicate progress. When they go the other way, they paint a bleak picture indeed. The just-released issue of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count study again confirms statistically what we already knew anecdotally: Georgia and Alabama continue to be poor states, and much of the deprivation associated with that poverty is borne by our children.”

The Huntsville Times, June 20, 2013: (Blog) Mobile County Commission to give $1.4 million grant toward veterans’ housing

“Homeless and displaced veterans could have expanded housing, training and counseling options by early 2014 thanks to a $1.4 million federal grant administered by the Mobile County Commission.”

Al.com, May 20, 2013: (Blog) Eagle's Landing provides transitional housing for homeless veterans

“Eagle's Landing is a 36-unit transitional housing community with supportive services to meet the unique needs of homeless veterans who served in the active military and now find themselves sleeping in shelters or various places not designed for human habitation.”

Montgomery Advertiser, May 01, 2013: Drug testing, stopping card use in bars in position to pass

“Two proposals that would affect welfare recipients, not allowing them to use their cards in bars and strips clubs, and another that would require drug tests for public benefit recipients if there is reasonable suspicion of drug use are in position to pass in the last days of the legislative session.”

Al.com, April 26, 2013: (Blog) Birmingham Health Care is the least accessible to the homeless seeking health care, study finds

“While Birmingham Health Care gets more homeless people seeking medical care than any other medical provider in the city, it also is the place where their efforts to obtain that care fails the most, according to a study published today online in the Journal of Urban Health.”

Al.com, April 24, 2013: (Blog) Vince Gill fundraiser aims to support ongoing homeless shelter complex campaign

“The approximately 22,000-square-foot campus will, when completed during the first quarter of 2014, nearly double the services the rescue mission provides. For instance, the number of men who can stay overnight at the mission will spike from 60 to 135, and the number of meals served daily will also double.”

Al.com, April 19, 2013: Housing assistance available for disabled, homeless individuals through Catholic Social Services

“Catholic Social Services is working to help the homeless individual's ‘get back to independence’ through a program that locates and provides housing, and other assistance.”

Montgomery Adviser, April 15, 2013: Event provides help for homeless

“It was the annual River Region Connects program and, for four hours, cosmetologists, opticians, lawyers, health care workers and other volunteers were on hand to do what they could for the homeless.”

The Montgomery Advertiser, March 31, 2013: Hard cap for payday, title loans sought; legislation seeks to limit massive interest rates charged by operators

“Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, has two bills that would place a 36 percent cap on the short-term loans given out by payday and title loan businesses, which respectively can charge up to 456 percent and 300 percent annual interest on loans. It also would require the businesses to keep track of payments and place limits on what title loan companies could do with property taken for non-payment. ‘The main purpose is to regulate that interest rate so we don't drive more people into poverty by them getting a short-term loan,’ said Todd.”

Mobile Register, March 29, 2013: Mobile-based Victory Health Partners sees demand rise, seeks ministry-centered physician

“With a 2013 operating budget of $1.3 million - an increase of about 8 percent compared with 2012 - Victory Health serves more than 12,000 regular adult patients with no other means of health care coverage. Although the ministry targets low-income patients, Lightfoot is quite clear the operation is not a free clinic, but rather a pay-what-you-can model.”

AL.com, March 09, 2013: (Blog) Project Homeless Connect provides various services for Birmingham's homeless population

“Over a thousand volunteers and organizations assembled in Boutwell Auditorium Saturday, March 9 to help those in the Birmingham community affected by homelessness with Project Homeless Connect.”

Birmingham News, March 05, 2013: (Op-Ed) Alabama Accountability Act gives parents a choice for their children

“By setting a portion of the tax credit scholarship funding aside for students from low-income families, our Legislature has set a strong precedent. For the first time, those Alabama parents that once felt helpless have now been empowered with the freedom of choice.”

Al.com, February 07, 2013: (Blog) Latest count shows slight decrease in number of Huntsville homeless

“The number of homeless people in the Huntsville area decreased slightly in 2013 over 2012, according to information released today by the North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless.”

Decatur Daily, January 27, 2013: Mouths to feed in Morgan

“Food banks in Morgan County say poverty and hunger are growing in the county, and they are fighting to keep up. Carpenter’s Cabinet food bank in Falkville has doubled the number of people it feeds every year since it opened in 2010. The food bank fed 1,200 mouths in 2012, up from 660 in 2011 and 300 in 2010.”

Birmingham News, December 18, 2012: Combating the 'Summer slide': Birmingham coalition gives nearly $500,000 in grants to prevent summer learning loss

“Nearly $500,000 in grants will go to local learning programs aimed to keep Birmingham-area students from experiencing the ‘summer slide’ — which research shows happens to children when their minds are idle for three months in the summertime. Summer learning loss contributes to the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers, research shows.”

The Montgomery Advertiser, October 29, 2012: Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless plans blanket drive

“As temperatures begin to dip, the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless is making plans for its annual blanket drive for Montgomery's homeless population.”

Birmingham Business Journal, October 05, 2012: Could Sarrell Dental be national health model? (Subscription Required)

“Since 2005, Anniston-based Sarrell Dental Center has reduced its average reimbursement rate from $328 to $131 in 2011, subsisting primarily on Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, coverage - both low-income, government-funded health coverage programs.”

Mother Jones, September 18, 2012: (Op-Ed) Alabama Voters to Decide Whether to Save Poor Kids

“Today Alabama voters go to the polls to decide whether or not to approve an amendment to the state's constitution that would allow shifting $437 million from the state's gas and oil drilling royalty trust to the state's general fund to cover a $150 million budget deficit. Alabama suggested earlier this year that if the measure is defeated it may become the first state in the country to simply quit the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare program, a move that could push more than 40,000 children in the state even deeper into poverty.”

Birmingham News, August 26, 2012: (Editorial) Gov. Robert Bentley, Legislature have given voters little choice but to agree to transfer of millions from Alabama's savings account to the General Fund

“It's clear the state's General Fund, which pays for most noneducation services such as prisons, public safety, child welfare, public health and Medicaid, is facing challenging financial times. The Legislature wants Alabama voters to endorse tapping into one of the state's savings accounts to keep the fund solvent.”

The Clarion-Ledger, June 16, 2012: Mississippi ranked No. 10 among least peaceful states

"'The state has the highest rate of poverty, the highest rate of children living in single parent households, the lowest average life expectancy, and the highest rate of births among teenagers.' Other states listed among the 'least' peaceful states in the country were South Carolina (9th), Arkansas (8th), Texas (7th), Missouri (6th), Arizona (5th), Florida (4th), Nevada (3rd), Tennessee (2nd) and Louisiana (1st)."

Birmingham Business Journal, June 1, 2012: Alabama braces for enrollment in Medicaid to soar

"By comparison, just 19 percent of the state's population was enrolled last year in the income-based program that limits benefits mostly to children, pregnant mothers and select groups of low-income adults."

Chattanooga Times Free Press, May 22, 2012: States improve in dental care among low-income children

“In the last 10 years, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama have made huge strides in how many low-income children receive dental services. And while the states now exceed the national average, advocates say they still have room for improvement in providing preventive services and access to dental care, noting that only about half of all low-income children receive the services.”

The Capital, May 13, 2012: Military program brings health care to rural Alabama; More than 12,000 people treated

"The doctoring Wednesday was part of a military program to provide free health care in poor areas of the South and whose latest mission came to one of Alabama's most impoverished regions, where the teams have treated more than 12,000 people in less than two weeks."

ABC.com, May 9, 2012: Military stop brings health care to rural Alabama

"The doctoring Wednesday was part of a military program to provide free health care in poor areas of the South and whose latest mission came to one of Alabama's most impoverished regions, where the teams have treated more than 12,000 people in less than two weeks. "

The Associated Press, April 30, 2012: Program brings free health care to Ala. Black Belt

"Low-income residents of three areas in Alabama's economically depressed Black Belt region will receive free medical care, dental exams and vision screenings over the next two weeks thanks to military reservists and National Guard members from across the country."

The New York Times, April 29, 2012: Mommy Had To Go Away for A While

"Textiles were the economic engine of the area until the 1990s, when the industry went into decline and mills shut down. Now one of the region's leading employers is Pilgrim's, a chicken supplier. The median household income is $31,213, and more than a third of children live below the poverty line."

Deseret Morning News, April 28, 2012: Obese, hungry and undernourished: the new face of food insecurity

"But it also serves to highlight complicated links between poverty, nutrition, obesity and overall well-being. Insecurity or hunger? 'Those public service announcements come back to haunt me,' said Mark Nord, the USDA sociologist in charge of food insecurity data."

Birmingham News, April 8, 2012: Like last year, Bama No. 1 in taxing poor

"Alabama is comfortably on top - yes, it still collects the most state income tax in the nation from working families who live at the federal poverty level, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C. Alabama collects state income tax of $548 from a twoparent family of four with an income of just more than $23,000 a year."

Birmingham Business Journal, March 28, 2012: Alabama joins other states opposed to Medicaid expansion

"Despite having one of the most bare-bones Medicaid programs in the country, Alabama is one of the 26 states arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court today that states shouldn't be forced to expand health coverage to more low-income residents."

Grand Rapid Press, March 15, 2012: State college students facing $4.2 million cuts in federal aid funds as penalty for 'disinvestments'

"Michigan and Alabama are being singled out by President Obama for cutting support to universities, saying the states did not comply with a federal rule requiring them to provide consistent funding. The states are facing loss of their College Access Challenge Grants, which is aimed at helping low-income families with academic counseling, financial aid and other assistance."

The Montgomery Advertiser, February 14, 2012: SPLC raises food stamp issues with immigration law

"The legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center said some Alabama Department of Human Resources employees have asked for the immigration status of undocumented parents seeking food assistance for their U.S.-born children."

The Montgomery Advertiser, February 3, 2012: Recovery program works to help those struggling with addiction

"The veterans group is new and growing. The first meeting was Dec. 6, said Paul Dickerson, a certified addiction professional in charge of the veterans group. Many of the people who show up to the meetings are homeless, Dickerson said, and the group works to connect those people with the resources available to them."

The Montgomery Advertiser, January 27, 2012: Medicaid proposal draws criticism

"The chairman of the House Ways and Means General Fund committee thinks the state could reduce Medicaid costs by putting the Alabama Medicaid Agency in the hands of a private firm. The proposal has drawn criticism from physicians' groups and an advocacy group for low-income Alabamians, both of which say there's nothing left to cut in Medicaid except essential care."

Mobile Register, January 14, 2012: Southerners have higher risk of HIV/AIDS

"'You combine those two things, as well as the poverty rates and the lack of education you sometimes get down here, and it's just a disaster,' said Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama and a member of the steering committee for the initiative, which goes by the initials SASI."

Connecticut Post, November 30, 2011: Child poverty shows increase in Alabama

"The U.S. Census Bureau says more than one in four Alabama children live in poverty, and that the figure has increased since the economic downturn began in 2007."

The Enterprise Journal, November 28, 2011: Mississippi should not emulate Alabama on immigration

"As written, the law is also a compliance nightmare. For example, pharmacists must check residency status with each transaction -- a time-waster that makes any complaint about federal regulations look silly. But by far the biggest problem is that in chasing immigrants -- illegal and otherwise -- from the work force, Alabama has put the hammer on businesses that rely on low-wage employees."

The Associated Press, November 16, 2011: Study: Alabama's poor pay highest state income tax

"The study released Tuesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said a family of four in Alabama that made the federal poverty level of $22,314 paid $498 in Alabama income taxes last year. The next closest states were Hawaii at $292 and Georgia at $238."

The Montgomery Advertiser, October 26, 2011: Center becomes beacon for struggling residents

"Many of the area's homeless and unemployed have been in their current situations so long that adequate food and clothing have become little more than distant dreams. One local organization is taking it upon itself to help make those dreams come true."

Chicago Tribune, October 10, 2011: Immigration law stirs fears

"Alabama's estimated 130,000 illegal immigrants are worried. They are confused. And in some cases, they have disappeared. They have disappeared from classrooms and from tomato fields."

The Anniston Star, October 2, 2011: A small group of experts has a plan to shrink Alabama's traditionally high rate of infant mortality

"Whatley and other team members acknowledge that they're just chipping away at the edges of the bigger problems -- poverty, high rates of obesity and diabetes and lack of access to health care."

Birmingham News, October 1, 2011: Real pain of poverty

"Poverty more than physical location has the greatest impact on a child's wellbeing. Shelby and Blount counties are low-poverty counties. The rural Black Belt has high numbers of residents living in poverty."

The Christian Science Monitor, September 30, 2011: Alabama immigration law leaves schools gripped by uncertainty

"Opponents argue that in the broader context of the immigration-enforcement law, the school provision will serve as a barrier for many families and end up denying innocent children their constitutional right to a public education."

Daily Town Talk, September 23, 2011: Controversial wage hike for foreign workers delayed

"The U.S. Labor Department on Thursday postponed a federal court hearing that was to be held today in Alexandria over a controversial wage hike for seasonal immigrant workers that businesses nationwide claim would put them out of business."

The Montgomery Advertiser, September 23, 2011: Nearly 1 in 5 Alabamians in poverty, says Census

"Nearly 1 in 5 Alabamians -- roughly 846,000 people -- lived in poverty in 2010, according to new figures from the U.S. Census. The American Community Survey reported 19 percent of Alabama's population lived in poverty in 2010. That number jumped from the 17.5 percent reported to live in poverty in Alabama in 2009, and was well above the national rate of 15.3 percent."

The Montgomery Advertiser, September 20, 2011: Good health starts with good dental care

"What is making the problem even worse in this dire economy is that people who are at or above the poverty level are twice as likely to report a dental visit in the past 12 months as those who are below the poverty line."

Montgomery Advertiser, September 1, 2011: (Editorial) Too many divorces

"All these divorces have policy implications for Alabama. The study points out, for instance, that nationally children living with a parent who divorced in 2009 were more likely to be in a household below the poverty level (28 percent) compared with other children (19 percent). Women who divorced in the past 12 months were more likely to receive public assistance."

Birmingham News, August 28, 2011: We can do better than charter schools, merit pay

The first thing he can do is to get back on his motorcycle and travel Alabama, visiting schools and spending quality time in them. Spend a day in a classroom of any high-poverty school. Don't just dash in, wander the halls for a few minutes and leave. Get to understand the context of what teachers and principals face daily.

The Christian Science Monitor, Aug 17, 2011: U.S. child poverty rate tops 20 percent

"But the problem is not evenly distributed. New Hampshire (11 percent), Minnesota (14 percent), and Massachusetts (13 percent) have the least child poverty, while Alabama (25 percent), Louisiana (24 percent), and Mississippi (31 percent) have the most."