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Super Committee Works to Reduce Deficit as States Face All-Time High Poverty Rates

Washington, DC, September 22, 2011

Annual state poverty data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that the South continues to be disproportionately impacted by hunger and poverty. This news comes just one week after the Census Bureau reported that the U.S. poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent in 2010, up from 14.3 percent in 2009, with 46.2 million people living in poverty.  

“With nearly one in six Americans living in poverty, it is clear that the nation is still feeling the ongoing impacts of the recession,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.  “Right now members of Congress are making tough decisions about reducing our national debt and we urge them to form a circle of protection around safety net programs that help Americans lift themselves out of poverty.” 

Several members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or, Super Committee) live in states with some of the worst poverty figures on the map—including Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), co-chair of the committee, and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC).  Another five members of the committee—Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)—live in states where the poverty rate is higher than the national average.  

According to the new figures, the following states have the highest poverty rates in the country:  

1. Mississippi: 22.4 percent

2. New Mexico: 20.4 percent

3. Washington, DC: 19.2 percent

4. Alabama and Kentucky: 19.0 percent

5. Arkansas: 18.8 percent

6. Louisiana: 18.7 percent

7. South Carolina: 18.2 percent                                                                                             

8. West Virginia: 18.1 percent

9. Georgia and Texas: 17.9 percent

10. Tennessee: 17.7 percent 

Members of the congressional Super Committee have until Nov. 23, 2011 to provide recommendations on how to reduce the federal deficit. The committee is tasked with trimming $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over 10 years.  

“Finding that amount of money is no easy task—and to do it in two months is extremely difficult,” added Beckmann. “We pray that the Super Committee will put all possible options on the table when considering where to make cuts and avoid balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable.”

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

Media Contact:

Fito Moreno, Interim Media Relations Manager, 202-688-1138


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