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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: 13%
  • Women in poverty: 17.3%
  • Percent of single-parent families with related children that are below poverty: 39%
  • Number of Hispanic children below 200% poverty: 471,000

Economic well-being

  • Poverty rate: 18.7%
  • Extreme poverty rate: 8.9%
  • Unemployment rate: 8.2%
  • Food insecurity: 14.9%
  • Low-income families that work: 38.9%
  • Minimum Wage: $7.90
  • Percent of jobs that are low-wage: 23.4%
  • Percent of individuals who are uninsured: 18%
  • Number Hispanic children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment: 305,000

Family

  • Teen birth rate per 1,000: 41.9
  • Children living in single parent families: 37%
  • Children in foster care: 9,930
  • Percent of children in immigrant families: 28%
  • Number of grandparents raising grandchildren: 155,533

Assets

  • Asset poverty rate: 32%
  • Unbanked households: 11.6%
  • Average college graduate debt: $20,299

Education

  • Individuals with a high school degree: 85.6%
  • Individuals with a four year college degree: 27.3%
  • Teens ages 16 to 19 not attending school and not working: 12%
  • Percent of college students with debt: 54%
  • High school graduation rate: 74.7%

Housing

  • Total households: 2,344,215
  • Renters: 33%
  • Households paying more than 30% of income on housing: 377,149
  • Homeless people: 11,302
  • Home foreclosure rate: %

Justice system

  • Number of youth residing in juvenile justice and correctional facilities: 1,488
  • Total incarcerated (prison and jail): 36,470

Participation in federal programs

  • Adults and Children receiving welfare (TANF): 39,347
  • Children receiving food stamps (SNAP): 498,000
  • EITC recipients: 565,000
  • Households receiving federal rental assistance: 41,983
  • Families receiving child care subsidies: 18,900
  • Participants in all Head Start programs: 22,659
  • Number of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP: 967,179
  • Number of women and children receiving WIC (Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program): 182,501
  • Households receiving LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program): 49,312
State governments play a significant role in developing policies that help support low-income families. Below is a list of some key Arizona policies and a link to an organization that tracks the issue.

Tax & Asset-Building Policy

Family and Work Supports

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

Skin in the Game: Who Really Pays Arizona Taxes?

Children's Action Alliance, January 2012

Governor Brewer’s FY 2011 and FY 2012 Budget Proposal: The Impact on Children and Families

Children's Action Alliance, February 2011

FY10 Arizona Budget Proposals: How Vulnerable Children and Families Fare

Children's Action Alliance, June 2009

Health, Human Services and Education Take the Brunt of Arizona Budget Cuts

Children's Action Alliance, December 2009

Asset-Building

Arizona Assets and Opportunity Scorecard

CFED, 2012

Asset Poverty Profile: Arizona

CFED, 2012

Families & Children

The State of Poverty and Opportunity in Arizona

Half in Ten, October 2011

HB 2165 is a Bad Choice for Arizona’s Economy and Workers

Children's Action Alliance, February 2011

An Empty Table: Second Highest Poverty Rate Means More Arizonans Experiencing Hunger

Arizona Indicators, December 2010

Improving Public Safety by Keeping Youth Out of the Adult Criminal Justice System

Children's Action Alliance, November 2010

HB 2250 ‐ Corporate Welfare Paid for By Arizona Families

Arizona Budget Coalition, April 2010

Homeless Youth in Arizona

Children's Action Alliance, April 2009

Protect Abused Children

Children's Action Alliance, May 2009

Who’s Working for Kids and Who’s Just Kidding?: A 2009 Legislative Report Card for Kids

Children's Action Alliance, December 2009

Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation Arizona Summary

Robert G. Lynch, Economic Policy Institute, 2009

Education

A Stronger Nation through Education: Arizona

Lumina Foundation, March 2012

SB 1001 and HB 2001-The Education Destruction Act

Children's Action Alliance, February 2011

The Arizona Daily Star, April 10, 2014: (Op-Ed) Child welfare in Arizona needs more than intentions

“The Legislature this week passed a $9.2 billion budget that is now before Gov. Jan Brewer. It includes $57.2 million for child welfare changes and staffing increases. Most Republican lawmakers refused to fund child welfare at the amount Brewer requested — roughly $80 million — to replace Child Protective Services with a stand-alone department called Child Safety and Family Services that reports directly to the governor.”

The Arizona Republic, April 08, 2014: The Arizona Budget: Unfinished business

“The Arizona Legislature ended weeks of back-and-forth on the budget by approving a $9.2 billion spending plan that leaves the key issue of the session — an overhaul of the state's child-welfare system — undone.”

The Washington Times, March 28, 2014: Arizona House OKs revised $9.23B state budget

“A deal on a state budget in hand after days of wrangling between Republican factions, the Arizona House on Thursday evening adopted a $9.24 billion state budget that made changes to a plan passed by the Senate.”

The Star Phoenix, March 24, 2014: Minimum-wage hike coming soon

“Labor Minister Don Morgan says the minimum wage in Saskatchewan will increase this year. The hike will bring the wage, currently $10 per hour, up to par with other provinces’ rates, on top of the introduction of the government’s new indexation system, Morgan said on Monday.”

The Tucson Weekly, March 20, 2014: Arizona's sad record of women in poverty

“Here's a sad reality of life in today's Arizona: More than half a million women live in poverty.”

The Tucson Weekly, February 13, 2014: Discussing the Displaced

“Jon McLane has spent the past two years living on the streets of Tucson. He's one of thousands of homeless men, women and children who usually don't get much attention from this community. Except when they're considered as being in the way.”

The New York Times, January 15, 2014: Program to End Homelessness Among Veterans Reaches a Milestone in Arizona

“Their descent into homelessness began almost as soon as they had closed a dignified chapter in their lives: their military service.”

The Washington Post, December 20, 2013: (Blog) Phoenix says it’s the first city to end chronic homelessness among veterans

“Phoenix says it eradicated chronic veteran homelessness Wednesday. Three years ago a state coalition aimed at ending chronic homelessness among veterans identified 222 living in Phoenix. As of early November, 56 remained, but a $100,000 allocation of funds enabled the city to house them all as of mid-week, winning what the mayor’s office described as a friendly competition with Utah’s Salt Lake City to become the first U.S. city to do so.”

The New York Times, December 10, 2013: Thousands of Ignored Child Abuse Allegations Plague Arizona Welfare Agency

“The revelations come as caseworkers at the agency, Child Protective Services, have been taking on a record number of cases regarding child neglect or abuse. Among the shelved files were 5,000 reports made in the last 20 months to a child welfare hotline that Gov. Jan Brewer had taken credit for reorganizing.”

The Mohave Valley Daily News, November 17, 2013: Arizona minimum wage going up 10 cents in 2014

“Under a law Arizona voters approved in 2006, Castillo and others earning minimum wage will receive a 10-cents-per-hour increase to $7.90 starting Jan. 1. For tipped workers, the state minimum wage will rise from $4.80 to $4.90 per hour.”

The Arizona Republic, November 12, 2013: Phoenix set to allot $100,000 to house vets

“The Phoenix City Council is expected to set aside $100,000 today to help house a final group of 56 chronically homeless Valley veterans.”

The Tucson Weekly, November 07, 2013: (Op-Ed) Poverty pass

“From the 2011 U.S. Census figures, Tucson came in with the eighth highest poverty rate in large metropolitan areas, and now a study in partnership with the UA and the city of Tucson wants to provide some answers and direction that policy-makers can use.”

The Arizona Central, October 08, 2013: Arizona to fund federal program for needy families

“Days after her administration said thousands of Arizona’s poorest families would not get welfare checks because of the federal shutdown, Gov. Jan Brewer late Monday ordered the state’s safety-net agency to make this month’s payments.”

The Los Angeles Times, October 07, 2013: Arizona ban on panhandling found unconstitutional in Flagstaff case

“An Arizona law that makes it a crime to beg for money or food in public is unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.”

The Daily Journal, October 07, 2013: Due to ongoing federal government shutdown, Arizona to fund program for low-income families

“Gov. Jan Brewer has ordered the Arizona Department of Economic Security to use $650,000 from its budget to support the federal program for low-income families through the end of this month.”

The Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2013: Flagstaff, Arizona, to halt its crackdown on panhandling

“An Arizona city that led the nation in its aggressive stance on panhandling reversed course Tuesday night, setting in motion the apparent demise of a century-old state law that criminalized begging.”

The Arizona Daily Star, August 10, 2013: Child care’s cost prolongs poverty

“As metro Tucson's poverty climbed in the last decade, welfare became harder to get and the amount Arizona set aside for child-care subsidies dropped from $83 million to zero between 2008 and 2011. The rest of the money for the program is federal. Also, fewer parents are getting child support they are owed.”

The Arizona Daily Star, August 08, 2013: Tribes confront complex problems

“Job prospects are slim and unemployment is high. More than half of children in the Tohono O'odham Nation and 42 percent of Pascua Yaqui children are impoverished, compared with 24 percent of all children in Pima County. High school graduation rates are lower than the rest of the county and even among graduates, poverty is entrenched.”

The Arizona Daily Star, August 07, 2013: Many struggle to find place to live

“Tucson's troubled housing market has been a factor in the area's entrenched poverty for decades, planners and housing advocates say. The recession made affordable housing even tougher to find as owners lost their houses and demand for apartments soared. But while other areas slammed by the economy recover, Tucson is still hurting.”

The Arizona Daily Star, August 06, 2013: Losing Ground: Many Tucson jobs are low-pay

“Lujan is in a growing class of Tucsonans - many of them single parents - who have jobs but still struggle to pay their bills. About 80,000 Pima County households rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps. That figure is double what it was six years ago.”

The Arizona Daily Star, August 06, 2013: Database: Average annual wage in Pima County and the U.S.

“As of May 2012, Tucson workers made, on average, about 7 percent less per hour than the national rate, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show. And the gap is getting bigger: A year earlier, the difference was 5 percent.”

The Arizona Daily Star, August 05, 2013: Losing Ground: Young moms, kids barely making it

“Parenting alone and hardly getting by. In Pima County, this scenario is all too common for young mothers with little education and poor job prospects.”

The Arizona Daily Star, August 05, 2013: About ‘Losing Ground: Tucson’s kids pay poverty’s high price’

“Critics say that report, based on the 2011 American Community Survey, is flawed because it doesn't account for Tucson's unique demographics. But crunching the data a variety of ways reveals a consistent and indisputable truth: Too many Tucsonans are poor, and children are the worst off.”

The Arizona Daily Star, August 04, 2013: About 'Losing Ground: Tucson's kids pay poverty's high price'

“This investigation was spurred by a U.S. Census Bureau report that says Tucson, with more than 1 in 5 people living in poverty, is the nation's sixth-poorest major metropolitan area.”

The New York Times, July 21, 2013: Republicans in Arizona are at odds on Medicaid

“For Gov. Jan Brewer, the passage last month of a Medicaid expansion was a major coup. Despite a Republican majority in the Legislature, where she faced significant opposition from Tea Party members, she rallied the entire Democratic delegation to her side and made a progressive issue palatable to just enough conservatives, casting the expansion as the right decision for the state, morally and monetarily.”

The Phoenix Business Journal, July 15, 2013: Arizona Medicaid expansion backers fight in political trenches against repeal measure

“Witness, the state’s fight over Medicaid expansion. Hospital and business-backed supporters of the Medicaid expansion recently approved by Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature are doing their best to keep a conservative repeal ballot measure away from voters.”

The Tucson Weekly, June 20, 2013: Gov. Brewer gets her Medicaid expansion and an end to the legislative session

“Since the delivery of her State of the State address in January, Brewer had been fighting for the Medicaid expansion, which will allow anyone below 133 percent of the federal poverty level to be eligible for insurance through the state's AHCCCS program.”

USA Today, May 19, 2013: Arizona governor staking legacy on Medicaid

“Brewer, one of the state's conservative firebrands who has attracted a national following with her messages of states' rights and border security, is walking a political tightrope as she pushes to reshape how the state provides health care to the poor.”

Phoenix Business Journal, May 10, 2013: Executive profile: Building up protections for the poor

“She leads an organization that has become the voice of Arizona's poor. The association provides training and technical support to 11 Community Action Agencies. These agencies use federal funds distributed by the state to help families struggling to pay rent, keep the air conditioning and lights on, and put food on the table. The association also partners with 59 other state organizations working to help low-income people.”

USA Today, March 24, 2013: Arizona GOP split on Medicaid expansion

“The next few weeks could prove critical in determining the direction of Arizona's debate over Medicaid expansion, setting the stage for months of interparty rancor or a relatively smooth transition into a critical phase of federal health-care reform.”

The New York Times, March 10, 2013: G.O.P. in Arizona Is Pushed to Expand Medicaid

"To make their case, they are pressing the idea that expanding Medicaid, the federal and state program that provides healthcare to poor and disabled people, is the best way to stabilize the state's health care system, already buckling under the weight of caring for uninsured patients."

Phoenix Business Journal, February 25, 2013: Sequestration cuts: Dire warnings or scare tactics?

“The cuts would hit everything from small business loans, Pentagon and border security to federal grants and spending for preschools, Native American health centers, college financial aid and assistance programs for low income children, college students and senior citizens. Fiscal conservatives and critics of the president counter the warnings are scare tactics aimed at ginning up economic, military and safety net fears.”

Phoenix Business Journal, February 20, 2013: More than 1 in 4 Arizona Hispanics living in poverty

“Of the 1.8 million Hispanics living in the state, about 469,000, or 25.8 percent, live below the poverty line. Arizona's poverty rate among Hispanics is a few points higher than the national average of 23.2 percent.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, February 08, 2013: Judge rules against co-pays for Arizona Medicaid

“A federal waiver allowing Arizona's Medicaid program to charge low-income, childless adults co-pays for medical care was issued without a proper explanation, according to a federal judge who ordered officials to review the decision within two months.”

The Arizona Republic, January 26, 2013: Support for families lacking in state

“The Fulbrights exemplify one of Arizona's most pressing child-welfare issues: supporting struggling families to prevent child neglect so their kids don't join the hundreds coming into foster care every month. The increasing number of kids in foster care comes at a great cost to the children, their families and state taxpayers.”

Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2013: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer opts to expand Medicaid

“The $1.6 billion in federal funding will enable Arizona to provide health insurance for an additional 240,000 residents and continue insuring 50,000 childless adults, according to a state government memo explaining the expansion plan. Agreeing to expand Medicaid means protecting rural hospitals from growing costs in caring for the uninsured, infusing $2 billion into the state's economy while saving and creating thousands of jobs and providing healthcare to hundreds of thousands of low-income Arizonans, Brewer said.”

The Arizona Republic, November 23, 2012: Circle the City Medical Respite Center in Phoenix aids homeless

“Circle the City, a non-profit organization founded in 2008 to provide medical and social services to the Valley's homeless, operates the center. The center's leaders hope it will prevent homeless people from returning to the hospital for expensive emergency care.”

Phoenix Business Journal, November 19, 2012: New poverty numbers: 20 percent of Arizona, 25 percent of California, 48M Americans

“One of out of five Arizonans; one out of four Californians and 16 percent of all Americans are poor, according new economic calculations by the U.S. government.”

Phoenix Business Journal, November 08, 2012: Nearly one in five Arizona residents living in poverty

“New research from On Numbers shows Arizona has some of the highest poverty rates in the nation for both individuals and families. The state ranks 41st with a family poverty rate of 14 percent and 44th in the nation for an individual poverty rate of 19 percent.”

Phoenix Business Journal, October 05, 2012: Phoenix considering new way to fund health care of uninsured

“Called Phoenix Access to Care Ordinance, the measure would asses Phoenix hospitals short-term fees depending on the amount of revenue they create, and then draw down a 2-to-1 match of federal dollars. The funding then would be transferred to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to pay in part for uncompensated care for low income and uninsured patients.”

The Arizona Republic, September 28, 2012: (Op-Ed) Out-of-wedlock births put limits on opportunity

“The poverty rate among married couples in Arizona is somewhat higher, 9.4percent, undoubtedly because of a larger number of immigrant-led families, something also associated with elevated poverty rates. But in Arizona, the poverty rate in families led by single mothers is still four times as high as in married families.”

The Arizona Republic, September 27, 2012: SRP board approves 3.9% rate hike

“Salt River Project's board of directors voted unanimously Thursday for a $100million annual rate increase with a small concession to solar developers and more credits for low-income customers.”

The Arizona Republic, August 29, 2012: Litchfield Elementary School District Title I schools gain academic awards

“The Arizona Department of Education recently announced 123 ‘reward schools’ in the state, including Barbara B.Robey Elementary in Litchfield Park, Corte Sierra Elementary in Avondale and Wigwam Creek Middle School in Litchfield Park. The reward designations are part of a state program that recognizes achievement in TitleI schools, said Molly Edwards, an Arizona Department of Education spokeswoman. Title I schools have large numbers of poor students and often those students have lower scores on standardized tests. By definition, more than 40percent of students at those schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.”

The New York Times June 30, 2012: Reluctance in Some States Over Medicaid Expansion

"Millions of poor people could still be left without medical insurance under the national health care law if states take an option granted by the Supreme Court and decide not to expand their Medicaid programs, state officials and health policy experts said Friday."

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."

Phoenix Business Journal, April 27, 2012: Medical respite center planned for homeless

"When a hospital discharges a homeless, uninsured patient, the hospital pays a nursing home or a nurse at a hotel so the patient has a place to heal under supervised care. Sometimes hospitals even keep the patients in their own beds, which can become very costly."

The Washington Post, April 12, 2012: Guess which states don’t fund pre-K programs

"Yet a new report shows that funding across the country by states has declined over the past two years — to the tune of about $90 million — even though enrollment has increased. What’s more, a number of states don’t even fund early pre-K programs."

The New York Times, April 7, 2012 Welfare Limits Left Poor Adrift as Recession Hit

Mitt Romney, who leads the race for the Republican presidential nomination, has said he would place similar restrictions on 'all these federal programs.' One of his rivals, Rick Santorum, calls the welfare law a source of spiritual rejuvenation. ‘It didn’t just cut the rolls, but it saved lives,’ Mr. Santorum said, giving the poor ‘something dependency doesn’t give: hope.’ President Obama spoke favorably of the program in his 2008 campaign — promoting his role as a state legislator in cutting the Illinois welfare rolls. But he has said little about it as president."

The Arizona Capitol Times, March 19, 2012: School lunch opt-out bill in Arizona too much to swallow

"The measure would have allowed Arizona schools to opt out of the National School Lunch Program, which offers low-income pupils free or reduced-price lunches at most public schools. Charter schools and private schools are exempt from the federal program."

The New York Times, January 23, 2012: (Blog) The Best States to Grow Up In

"The Foundation for Child Development’s new report on state-level differences in the Index of Child Well-Being – a broad quality-of-life indicator based on 25 indicators – shows enormous variation, as does another set of indicators known as Kids Count, developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation."

East Valley Tribune, November 28, 2011: Plan would provide health care to more than 19,000 Arizona children

“A plan by three hospital groups to leverage more federal cash for themselves will also help provide care to more than 19,000 children of the working poor, at least temporarily.”

The Arizona Republic, October 20, 2011: Appeals Court hears effort vs. AHCCCS cuts

"Attorney Joe Kanefield told a three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals that the voter-approved measure, which allowed everyone under the federal poverty level to qualify for health coverage, doesn't force the Legislature to pay for it."

The Arizona Republic, October 1, 2011: Feds extend AHCCCS, still reviewing cuts

"Two key program cuts already have won federal approval, and more than 100,000 Arizonans are expected to lose health coverage in the first year as a result. The remaining cuts affect thousands more, including an estimated 30,000 low-income parents who are expected to lose coverage by next July."

The Arizona Republic, September 30, 2011: United Way sets $2.8 mil goal

"'Now more than ever the needs are significant,' he said in a prepared text, pointing out that Arizona's poverty rate has risen to 18.6 percent, well above the national poverty rate of 15.1 percent."

The Arizona Republic, September 22, 2011: Experts fear long-term costs

"Over the past year his erratic, disruptive behavior led Marc Center employees to call Mesa police at least once. He is believed to be homeless, she said, but contact with him has been sporadic since last winter."

The Arizona Republic, September 15, 2011: Appeals Court to hear AHCCCS arguments

"A lower-court judge last month refused to block the cuts, agreeing with attorneys for Brewer and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System that a voter-approved law requiring health coverage for all Arizonans below the federal poverty level doesn't force the Legislature to pay for it."

The Arizona Republic, September 14, 2011: More in Ariz. lack health insurance

"Some expect that Arizona's share of uninsured will likely swell when next year's numbers come out. Enrollment freezes in Arizona's KidsCare program for low-income children and their families took effect in 2010."

The Times Herald, September 1, 2011: U.S. has no excuse for hungry children

"A list of states and the federal enclave compiled by the Con Agra Foods Foundation and reprinted recently in The New York Times reveals that in the District 32.3 percent, or 36,870 boys and girls, face food deprivation. The District is followed closely by Oregon with 29.2 percent, or 252,510 children, and Arizona and Arkansas with 28.8 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively."

The Arizona Republic, August 25, 2011: Ruling: AHCCCS copays break law

"A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that mandatory copayments charged to Arizona's poorest residents violate federal law. The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said federal health officials failed to show how the copays, imposed in November after a seven-year court battle, served any purpose besides cutting the state's Medicaid budget."

The Arizona Republic, August 22, 2011: Doctor treats needy from mobile clinic

"'There's much more demand,' he said. 'There are more homeless kids coming since the economy started to be hit hard, but since 2006, we've seen the demand rise to what we think are unprecedented rates.'"

The Arizona Republic, August 17, 2011: Ariz. kids worse than most in poverty, health, foreclosure

"In terms of poverty, Arizona ranks 38th in the U.S. The state, with 23 percent of children living in poverty, has consistently had a child-poverty rate higher than the national average, which is 20 percent. The federal poverty level is $18,530 for a family of three."

The Arizona Republic, August 14, 2011: Arizona schools try new diploma system

"A handful of public schools in Arizona are the first to undertake an ambitious new program this year to not only improve what students learn but also to demand results and reward them by allowing some to graduate two years sooner."

The Arizona Republic, August 3, 2011: School-uniform policy debated

"Along with the students in the gifted program, the school has a high percentage of children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Knox is a Title I school, meaning it receives federal funding based on the poverty level of families and students who live in its attendance area."