Local News Next Louisville

By Stu Johnson, Kentucky Public Radio

Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows an increase in the poverty rate across Kentucky, as was the case nationally.

Kentucky’s overall poverty rate went up from 16.2 percent to 17 percent over a one year period. It puts Kentucky at fifth highest in the country. Jim Ziliak, University of Kentucky Center on Poverty Research director, says the Commonwealth was closing in on the lower national average in the late 90’s. He says over the last decade the state’s been going in the wrong direction.

“I think a lot of it was the hit to manufacturing in the early part of the decade and just not adequate job creation in the second half of the decade,” he said.

Ziliak says adopting a state earned income tax credit would help address poverty issues, along with improvements at all levels of education.

Indiana’s poverty rate is 16.1 percent.

The national poverty rate is 14.3 percent.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."