Child Poverty in Northeast Arkansas: A Snapshot

Our latest brief in a series of reports on child poverty in the state focuses on the prevalence of child poverty in the Northeastern corner of Arkansas.

While Jonesboro is typically thought of as the economic hub of Northeast Arkansas, the labor market area for the region is made up of 11 counties: Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph, and Sharp. Nearly one in three children in the region, or 28,623 children, live in poverty. But there are big differences in child poverty among the counties, with child poverty rates ranging from a low of 23 percent in Greene
County to 45 percent in Jackson County. More than one in seven children in the region live in extreme or deep poverty, defined as a family income of less than 50 percent of the poverty line, or less than $10,210 for a family of three. There are also huge differences by race, with children of color being more than twice as likely to live in poverty.

The official definition of poverty, however, tells only part of the story. Many experts think it takes an income twice the poverty line (nearly $41,000 for a family of three) to make ends meet. Under this definition, three in five children in the region live in low-income families who are struggling to make ends meet.

5 things you should know about child poverty in Northeast Arkansas
1. Nearly one in three children in Northeast Arkansas lives in poverty. Almost 60 percent of all
children in the region live in low-income households where their parents make less than 200
percent of the Federal Poverty Level (less than $40,840 for a family of three).
2. Poverty is much higher for young children in Northeast Arkansas than it is for adults, with
nearly 40 percent of children under age 5 living in poverty, compared to 10 percent of seniors
65 and older.
3. People with more education are less likely to live in poverty.
4. Children of color in the region are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as their white peers.
5. Child poverty negatively impacts the development of children and follows them well into adulthood.

Read more about the causes and impact of child poverty in Northeast Arkansas in the full brief.

To read more about child poverty in Northwest Arkansas, click here.

To read more about child poverty in the entire state, click here.