In Jefferson County alone, 13% of adults, an estimated 92,000 people, are considered functionally illiterate, reading below a fifth-grade level. In 2007 the high school dropout rate was 40%. Nine percent of adults lack health insurance, while an even higher percentage lack adequate access to care. While better healthcare, improved reading skills and a GED alone aren’t enough to pull people out of poverty, providing opportunities for these adults to move forward is vital to reversing the trend of generational poverty.
Generational poverty affects everyone. An April 2007 paper published by the Institute for Research on Poverty asserts that the costs associated with childhood poverty total about $500 billion per year, or the equivalent of nearly 4 percent of GDP. This is the summation of costs of unearned wages and productivity, high crime rates and poor health associated with adults who grew up in poverty-stricken households.
M-POWER is unique in our work to eradicate poverty because our programs address the root causes of poverty, not just its symptoms. Education and health programs are our tools in addressing the systemic lack of resources that poverty creates – financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, relationships/role models, support system, and the knowledge of hidden class rules.
WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOR?
Community Needs and Basic Information
|Avg. household income||
|Median household income||
|Number in poverty||
|% in poverty||
|Number of children in poverty||
|% of children in poverty||
|Number of elderly in poverty||
|% without high school diploma (over 25 years old)||
|% adults reading below a fifth-grade level (over 25 years old)||
|Estimated % of adults without health insurance||
Source: 2005-2009 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (average of period), 2003 Jefferson County Department of Health Community Health Survey, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy