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School of public policy releases poverty study

On Thursday, Sept. 15 a group of research scientists from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy released a study on the rates of child poverty across the U.S. The study concluded that between 2014-15, child poverty rates declined in 13 states nationwide, while the states of Mississippi, New Mexico and Louisiana saw an increase. The rest of the states seemed to have fairly stable rates.
UNH alumna, sociology Ph.D. and Carsey School vulnerable families research scientist Jessica Carson stated that the study was released on the same day that the Census Bureau’s data was released. “It only took us a day to complete the brief, and we release it yearly,” she said.
Working with Carson on the study was UNH Ph.D. candidate Andrew Schaefer and Carsey School director of research on vulnerable families Beth Mattingly.
Carson and her colleagues closely analyze the data provided by the Census Bureau before publishing the yearly brief. When comparing results from previous years, they use 2009, the year the economic recession essentially ended, as their control variable. All data comes from the American Community Survey, where the Census Bureau will then gather and release results.
“These data are the most recent data points which we can use to track trends in child poverty over time,” Schaefer said.
Mattingly and her researchers work together throughout the year at the Carsey School, located in the basement of Huddleston Hall, to release various briefs. Many of these studies focus on pressing issues of the 21st century, where the researchers will then collaborate and try to create innovative and impactful solutions to such issues. By conducting these yearly studies of the overall rates of child poverty, the scientists are able to compare each one to potentially decipher the underlying cause of the rise or decline of the varying rates.
“This project is useful for organizations in different states across the U.S. interested in how child poverty rates have changed in their state over the past year,” Schaefer said.
Included with the brief is an organized table of each state and their prospective rate of child poverty. New Hampshire happened to be among the lowest nationwide with an overall rate of 10.7 percent.
Carson and Schaefer both said that they cannot come to a definite conclusion about the decrease in poverty rates, and that it would be unwise to predict whether or not the rates will change. However, this year’s study concluded that rates had decreased a fair amount among all areas, including cities, suburbs and rural areas. Overall, child poverty rates were substantially higher in the South and lower in the Northeast, but northeastern cities proved to have higher rates than other cities across the country. While these rates are important, most states did not see a change in child poverty and remain at stable rates.

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