N.H. poverty rate lowest in nation, but it's rising

New Hampshire had the lowest poverty rate among both individuals and families in the nation last year, but the rate has been rising over the past few years, according to new U.S. Census data.

In 2011, 8.8 percent of individuals – 112,700 people — were living below the poverty line, the lowest percentage in the U.S. The data found that 5.6 percent of New Hampshire families were living below the poverty line, also the lowest rate in the country.

The figures come from the American Community Survey, an ongoing survey that helps the state and federal government determine where to distribute funding.

The Granite State poverty rates were roughly half the national averages. The average poverty rate in the U.S. last year was 11.7 percent for families — more than double New Hampshire's rate — and 15.9 percent for individuals, nearly two times New Hampshire's rate.

While New Hampshire has the nation's smallest share of impoverished people, its poverty rate is actually at its highest in several years.

In fact, the rate among individuals has risen substantially since before the recession. From 7.1 percent, or 90,204 people, to the current 8.8 percent

.In 2010, the percentage of New Hampshire residents living below the poverty line was 8.3 percent, or 105,700 people. In 2009, the rate was 8.5 percent, or 109,213 people, and in 2008, the rate was 7.5 percent, or 96,041 people.

In 2011, Alaska and Vermont tied for second-lowest family poverty rate, at 6.9 percent. New Mexico and Mississippi had the highest poverty rates in the country in 2011, at 16.6 and 17.4 percent, respectively.


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