One in four St. Lawrence County children lives in poverty, state says
Saturday, July 7, 2018 - 8:37 am

By JIMMY LAWTON

One in four children in St. Lawrence County lives below the poverty line, according to a report from the state Community Action Association.

St. Lawrence County is the seventh most impoverished county in New York with more than 27 percent of kids living below the federally established poverty level, according to the state Department of Health.

The most recent data available shows 19,107 or about 19.2 percent of St. Lawrence County’s trackable residents living below the poverty line. That’s significantly higher than the state and federal poverty rates that are around 16 percent.

Education and age

The federal poverty line is the minimum level of income deemed adequate to live on. The federal poverty level is based on income and household size. Currently that level is $11,880 for an individual.

For a family of two the poverty level is set at $16,020. A family of three earning $20,160 or less is considered impoverished.

According to a report from the St. Lawrence County Community Development program, 19.2 percent of St. Lawrence County residents live in poverty.

About 27 percent of St. Lawrence County’s children, which is about 5,985 kids, live in poverty.

The report shows about 15 percent or 10,100 adults ages 25 to 65 live in poverty and about 9 percent or 1,475 seniors live in poverty.

According to the report, education appears to play a role in poverty. About 34 percent or 2,563 adults without a high school diploma live in poverty, while only about 16 percent or 3,857 adults with a diploma live below the poverty line.

Adults with an associate’s degree fare better with only about 12 percent or 2,514 living in poverty and 7.2 percent or 1,166 adults holding a bachelors degree or higher live in poverty.

Troubled county

Poverty levels in St. Lawrence County have grown substantially in the past 12 years. In 2004 about 15.5 percent of residents lived in poverty, which is up to 19.2 percent in the most current data.

At times the rate has been even higher. In 2013 21.4 percent of the county’s residents were living in poverty.

St. Lawrence County’s unemployment rate is about 7.4 percent. The median income for county residents is $32,394. For people with high school diplomas and no higher education, the median income is $26,326.

Fifty-three percent of the county’s children qualify for free and reduced lunches and 42 percent of families with a female head of the household live in poverty.

About 10 percent of people with jobs do not have health insurance and about 18 percent of unemployed people do not have insurance.

While St. Lawrence County’s poverty rate is higher than the state and federal rates, there are a few counties in even worse shape.

Those are Bronx County, which has a poverty rate of 30.5 percent; Kings County with a 22.73 percent poverty rate; Montgomery County with a 20.61 percent poverty rate; Tompkins County with a 20.07 percent poverty rate; Chautauqua County with a 19.4 percent poverty rate; and Franklin County where 19.7 percent of people live in poverty.