AACF’s office in Northwest Arkansas opened in 2008. When we travel this region discussing children’s issues, many people we encounter are surprised to learn the number of children in the region who live in poverty.
The truth is, in the past two decades, during a relatively prosperous time in Northwest Arkansas, the growth in poverty has outpaced the growth in the general population. Check out this chart that shows the growth in the number of children living in poverty in Washington and Benton counties. Of course, the population grew significantly during the same time period. But keep in mind that the growth in child poverty has actually been faster than the growth in the population as a whole.
The source of this chart is the Kids Count Data Center and the American Community Survey, a national survey of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty level in 2008, the latest year for which income and poverty statistics are available, was $21,200 for a family of four.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families opened our office in Northwest Arkansas in part to call attention to the needs of children in this region and also to point to policy solutions that could make a difference in those children’s lives.