Certain categories of people are at greater risk of being in poverty than others. Children, non-whites and women are disproportionately represented in the category of 'officially poor'.
According to 2003 Census estimates, 13.4% of North Carolina's population had an income below the poverty level. In households where the head of household is female with no spouse present, 27.4% fall below the poverty line. 19.1% of related children under 18 live in poverty; add race and 29.9% of African American related children under 18 in North Carolina live in poverty; 24.8% of Native American related children under 18 in North Carolina live in poverty; and 9.1% of white related children under 18 live in poverty. Wealth and poverty are not distributed equally.
Census 2000 data show that 9% of North Carolina families have incomes below the poverty level. Looking at families by race, 5.6% of white families have incomes below the poverty level, while 19.9% of African American families have incomes below the poverty level. Across the state of North Carolina and across the nation, the patterns of poverty remain the same: non-whites have higher rates of poverty than whites; children under 18 have higher rates of poverty than other age categories; and the feminization of poverty means that women represent an increasing proportion of the poor.
Leslie Hossfeld, University of North Carolina Wilmington