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What poverty looks like in Hall County
poverty

In 2016, more than 33,000 people in Hall County lived in poverty, 16.9 percent of the population. 

Hall has a higher rate of poverty than all eight counties that border it, according to data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau. Its rate is higher than the national average but lower than the state’s.

Hall also has fewer residents with a high school degree than every other county in the immediate area.

Who is in poverty

Detailed demographic data was gathered in 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Age

  • 27.6 percent of Hall’s children were in poverty in 2015
  • 15.9 percent of those 18 to 64
  • 10 percent of those older than 65

Race and ethnicity

  • 11.8 percent of whites
  • 28 percent of blacks
  • 30.9 percent of Hispanics

What they live on

The federal government defines poverty

Individual:  Less than $13,000 a year

Family of three: $20,420 or less

Family of six: $32,960 or less

What’s average in Hall

Median income: $51,202

Median rent: $850 

Median mortgage: $1,313

How Hall County compares

Percent living in poverty

Hall: 16.9

Dawson: 12.1

Banks: 15.8

Forsyth: 6.3

Gwinnett: 12.6

Habersham: 16.6

Jackson: 13

Lumpkin: 16.5

White: 15.2

Percent with high school education or better

Hall: 78

Dawson: 85.8

Banks: 78.1

Forsyth: 92

Gwinnett: 87.2

Habersham: 78.2

Jackson: 82.7

Lumpkin: 85

White: 85.3

What it costs

Poverty affects everyone, whether it’s firsthand or through funding for social programs aimed at easing the stress of poverty — and the costs are staggering.

A total 27,961 residents were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, offered referred to as food stamps.

In 2016 alone, Hall County spent $41.6 million in food stamps, which are entirely funded by the federal government. That’s an average of $3,564 per household.

Almost half of those benefiting from food stamps are younger than 16. In 2016, that was 14,190 children. 

Only about half of Hall’s poor Latinos, 8,215, were receiving the benefit in 2016. The food stamp program is only open to legal immigrants and United States citizens.

Meanwhile, 4,154 African-American residents are enrolled in the food stamp program and 12,736 white residents are in the program. 

People who work to alleviate poverty at the local and state level agree that an improving economy will in time improve the situations of many in Hall County.

Already, the area has more jobs than it can fill — especially trade-skill jobs that have in recent American history been a ticket into the middle classes.

But one reason those jobs go unfilled is that there are scores of people in the county unqualified to fill them. Goodwill and many other organizations are working to change that fact, but it’s a problem long in solving and will likely be a generational issue in the county.

Meanwhile, people working low-skilled and low-earning jobs are finding economic growth increasing the cost of living in the county.

While rent, food and transportation is getting more expensive, wage growth has yet to follow.

Sources: 2015 and 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Georgia Department of Labor and the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services

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