In the last two decades, during a time when Northwest Arkansas has grown more prosperous and gained a national reputation for its booming economy and quality of life, poverty has taken a stronger foothold.
In Northwest Arkansas, the number of people in poverty is growing faster than the population, and the number of children in poverty is growing even faster. As our region has grown more successful, our children have fallen further behind.
In Benton County, which has one of the highest median incomes in the state, the number of children in poverty grew 161 percent since 1990. During that same time, the overall population grew 116 percent.
Washington County’s population grew 73 percent during that time period, while the number of children in poverty grew 116 percent.
The region’s poverty percentage is lower than that of most of the state, but the number of children in poverty in both Washington and Benton counties is higher than any county in the Arkansas Delta. Poverty is no less real for a child in Northwest Arkansas.