Poverty holding steady

Despite a growing U.S. economy, North Carolina still trails the nation and most of the region in key indicators of citizen well-being, a new report says.

The state’s median household income of $41,820 in 2004-05 was 90 percent of the national level and less than those of all but two South Atlantic states, says the N.C. Justice Center, which analyzed the latest Current Population Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

After adjusting for inflation, median income was stagnant when compared to four years ago.

While the poverty rate fell to 13.8 percent in 2004-05 from 15.1 percent in 2003-04, it remained higher than the national rate and was topped by only three states in its region, the Justice Center says.

Almost one in five children in the state under age 18 lived in poverty in 2004-05, virtually unchanged from four years earlier.

And access to health insurance remained virtually unchanged in 2004-05 from the previous year, with more than 15 percent of North Carolinians lacking insurance, up significantly since 2000-01.

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