Report classifies 10 N.C. counties with 'persistent poverty'
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WILMINGTON — A new report labels 10 eastern North Carolina counties has having persistent poverty.
The report, published by the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, defines the classification as when at least 20 percent of a county's population has lived in poverty every year for three decades. In this case it is from 1970 to 2000.
The 10 counties include Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Halifax, Martin, Northampton, Pitt, Robeson, Tyrell and Washington. The report said these counties have a history of economic struggles dating back to the days of slavery and segregation.
"There has been various historical factors contributing to high poverty in those communities, there has also been a challenge of allocating resources because of the low wealth, lack of employment and crumbling opportunities," said Director of the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center Alexandra Sirota.
While the counties are working on their own initiatives to turn things around, there is hope that the report will open the eyes of lawmakers.
"We're hopeful that policymakers will look to this kind of information to really orient their decision making towards the needs of these communities and broadly North Carolina," said Sirota.
The state Budget and Tax Center said they would like to continually observe and report on these areas to monitor their status.