News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 22, 2013

New Census data details poverty’s impact in Indiana, Wabash Valley

More and more, it’s children, not elderly, living in poverty

TERRE HAUTE — Hoosier families continue to struggle as Indiana saw large declines in income in the last 12 years, new data released last week by the United States Census Bureau showed.

Indiana’s median household  income declined 13.2 percent from 2000-2012, according to the 2012 American Community Survey. In 2000, the median household income (in inflation-adjusted dollars) in Indiana was $54,135. In 2011, it was down to $47,214. It was $46,974 in 2012.

Other states in the union — Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi and Tennessee — also saw large income declines, according to the report.

Experts say that many people who relied on manufacturing jobs for decent wages took a hit when companies moved jobs overseas or increasingly relied on automated machines, replacing labor.

“Hoosiers have been disproportionately hit because we are disproportionately” dependent on manufacturing, said Robert Guell, Ph.D., economics professor at Indiana State University.

The Census data also show that household income in the nation stayed about the same in recent years.

In 2012, the median household income in the nation was $51,017, which was “not statistically different in real terms” from 2011’s $51,100, the Census report said.

“Household income nationally in inflation-adjusted terms, have been in decline or flat since the great recession that started in 2008,” Guell said.

“Job opportunities for people at the relatively low end of the income scale have remained largely stagnant for several years,” he added.

This rings true for wage labor workers who continue “to find it tough sledding,” Guell, who has researched on issues such as minimum wage, poverty, welfare and income inequality, said.

“There are a lot of people hurting very badly. For people at the bottom of the income scale, there is only tunnel. There is no light at the beginning or end of it,” he said.

In the short term, Guell said, there is no lever that politicians can “switch” to make the situation better but suggests that people get an education and acquire the skills that the current marketplace requires.

The face of the poor

Poverty numbers also remained unchanged.

There were 46.5 million people living at or below the poverty line nationwide, according to the Census Bureau. The national poverty rate last year was 15 percent.

These figures are not “statistically different” from the 2011 numbers, according to the Census report “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012,” which was released last week.

Curtis Skinner, director of family economic security at the National Center for Children in Poverty, said that the nation is seeing historically high poverty rates, which is “a little disturbing.”

The number of people who are poor is “higher than it has been,” Skinner said, compared to previous decades.

Skinner also pointed out that the poverty rate remained “stuck” in previous years despite the U.S. economy’s slow growth.

“Since 2010, we’ve been stuck at the same poverty rate ... which is historically high,” Skinner said.

In Indiana, the poverty rate was at 15.6 percent last year, a little higher than the national rate. In Vigo County, however, it was 19.9 percent.

But perhaps more important than the numbers is the answer to the question, who makes up that 15 percent?

“In Vigo County, it’s going to be made up of women and their children,” said Dr. Tom Steiger, professor of Sociology at Indiana State University.

One of those women is Terre Haute resident Misty, a mother of two.

She described herself as unemployed and relient on welfare, living with her mother at a house along 14th Street in the heart of Terre Haute.

“It’s extremely hard,” Misty said as she stood outside her house Thursday.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, Misty said she is unable to work or go to school — which may pose opportunities for upward mobility — because of her family obligations.

She feels that no one else can take care of her two kids, aged 5 and 1 because the two adults she shares a home with, her mother and fiancé, both have medical conditions. They also need care.

And just like many other low-income mothers, she said she cannot afford child care.

“I’m basically it,” Misty said as she watched the kids play on the porch.

“I worked for a little bit ... but found that I have to be ... at home with my kids,” she added.

“This is the cold fact of life. ... You just got to live it day-by-day around here,” the young mother said.

Life is hard, but she does her best to provide for her children’s needs, she added.

Because of family obligations and no other support system, it is “very difficult” for women to “go to school” and “keep a job,” Steiger said.

And those who work tend to end up in low paying jobs, such as retail and food service, he said.

This is also true if a parent is raising a child or children on his or her own.

Many low-income families are headed by single parents, Skinner said. And parents who are “young and starting out” tend to be low income as well.

And when their parents do not make enough money, the children carry the burden of poverty.

There were more than 16 million children under age 18 living poverty in the U.S. in 2012, according to the Census data. The poverty rate for children under age 18 was 21.8 percent.

“It’s a very big burden to grow up poor,” Skinner said as these children tend to be exposed to poor housing conditions and poor nutrition (which then have an impact on their health). Poor children also tend to do worse in school, he said.

In Indiana, the child poverty rate was 22.4 percent in 2012. In Vigo County, it was a little over 31 percent.

Both at the national and local levels, the poverty rates for children are much higher than the poverty rates among the elderly. The national poverty rate for people aged 65 and older was 9.1 percent in 2012. In Indiana, it was a little over 7 percent.

“The elderly is not really the face of the poor today. It’s really the children,” Steiger, who has taught at ISU for 26 years, said.

And Misty, mother of two, feels alone in the poverty battle.

“I don’t think it’s gonna get any better,” she said.

“I feel like there’s not enough people out there helping. It’s people against people all the time,” Misty added.

“If you have more people in the community step up and become united instead of divided,” things can get better yet, she said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@trib star.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • Purdue Shooting2.jpg Purdue shooting leaves one person dead

    A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Parke County teacher, president of teachers’ association, arrested for alleged forgery, theft

    A former Montezuma Elementary teacher — who also had served as president of the Southwest Parke Education Association — was arrested this morning on various felony counts related to alleged missing funds, according to Indiana State Police.

    April 23, 2014

  • Purdue Shooting_Will.jpg THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs

    Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bosma Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee

    Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET012014 snowtracks.jpg We enter the deep freeze again

    If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET012014busses weir.jpg Levy redirects school funds

    If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.

    January 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana

    School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
    More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.

    January 21, 2014

  • MET 012114 DONNELLY BOARD.jpg VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board

    Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase

    After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.

    January 21, 2014

  • Shots fired at cars, homes of Vincennes officers

    VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) — Investigators are seeking the public’s help in finding whoever fired shots over the weekend at the cars and homes of police officers in a southwestern Indiana city.

    April 23, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: April 23, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.

    April 23, 2014

  • MET 042214 SWIM BULL.jpg Swim by 7 program

    Swim by 7 is a collaborative effort involving the United Way of the Wabash Valley and the Vigo County School Corp. As envisioned, all VCSC kindergarten students would participate in the learn-to-swim program once the new VCSC Aquatics Facility is constructed and ready for use at Voorhees Park.

    April 22, 2014 6 Photos 1 Video

  • Candidates file finance reports

    The Democratic race for judge of Vigo County Superior Court Division 2 boasts the most fundraising of all campaigns for the May 6 primary election.

    April 22, 2014

  • MET042214 earthdaymcclennan.jpg Mayor Duke Bennett leads community discussion on litter

    Talking trash in the neighborhood can get down and dirty.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Public hears about grant to clean up E. coli in Otter Creek

    Greg Dunham has known Otter Creek since his childhood. “I walked that creek. I lived in that creek and I was all the time fishing in it, so this was news to me” he said about the concern of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the Otter Creek watershed.

    April 22, 2014

  • MET042214 elanco.jpg Lilly to buy Novartis Animal Health

    Eli Lilly and Co. plans to acquire Novartis Animal Health for about $5.4 billion, a move believed to strengthen and diversify Lilly’s own animal health business, Elanco.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Men: Requests by missing IU girl’s parents too broad

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two men who were with a 20-year-old Indiana University student before she vanished in 2011 say in court documents that her parents are on a “fishing expedition” in their efforts to obtain evidence to use in a lawsuit against them.

    April 22, 2014

  • FEMA OKs aid for Vigo County

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster aid for 19 Indiana counties hit by a January storm that brought paralyzing snow and frigid readings.

    April 22, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: April 22, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    April 22, 2014

  • firstcarphotoforweb copy.jpg Remember Your First Car?

    Tell us about it! Your memories could be part of an upcoming story in the Tribune-Star. Click on this story to find out how.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 042114 NEW ISU TRACK.jpg VIDEO: Indiana State breaks ground for $4.3M riverside track and field facility

    Indiana State University officials, community leaders and donors broke ground Monday on a new, $4.3 million track and field facility on the Wabash riverfront, along North First Street.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • Panel approves new school benchmarks

    A panel of Indiana business and education leaders were met with boos and jeers from attendees after they voted overwhelmingly Monday to support new math and English standards set to replace the Common Core in classrooms this fall.

    April 21, 2014

  • schaffer, aaron.jpg Man to face several charges in Linton shooting death

    A homicide northeast of Linton is being investigated by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • aquatic center exterior.jpg Board approves bond structure to fund central pool project

    The Vigo County School Corp.’s $9.8 million aquatics center is “on schedule” and “the budget looks good,” Superintendent Dan Tanoos told the School Board on Monday.

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Judge: Indiana hasn’t given good reason for same-sex marriage ban

    A federal judge has said that attorneys defending Indiana’s gay marriage ban haven’t given a valid reason why the state should not recognize the out-of-state marriage of a lesbian couple, one of whom has a terminal illness.

    April 21, 2014

  • Police: Death from natural causes for 2 bodies found in home

    Death by natural causes has been ruled in the deaths of two people whose bodies were found Sunday evening inside their Pimento area home in southern Vigo County.

    April 21, 2014

  • MET 042114 NEW FIREFIGHTER.jpg 10 men, 1 woman added to Fire Dept. ranks

    Eleven recruits joined the ranks of the Terre Haute Fire Department on Monday during a swearing-in ceremony at Terre Haute City Hall.

    April 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • Mayor to host Earth Day event for children

    Mayor Duke Bennett has partnered with Indiana State University and the Vigo County Public Library to invite children grades K-5 for an evening of hands-on, environmental learning at the City’s first Earth Day Extravaganza. The free event will be today, Earth Day, from 4 ot 6 p.m. at the library.

    April 21, 2014

  • City to host Arbor Day award reception Wednesday

    Terre Haute’s urban forester and Mayor Duke Bennett will host Terre Haute’s first Arbor Day Urban Forest Award reception at 6 p.m. Wednesday at The Ohio Building.

    April 21, 2014

  • Homicide investigation under way in Greene County

    A homicide northeast of Linton is being investigated by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

    April 21, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Raw: Man Fatally Shot During Police Standoff New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Raw: Royal Couple Tours Uluru in Australia Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Raw: Tesla Delivers First China Cars Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener
NDN Video
Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity