ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A newly-released batch of data from the U.S. Census paints a picture of deep contrasts between wealth and poverty in Alaska - a state that ranks among the top median household incomes in the country but is also home to a borough with one of the highest poverty rates in the nation.
The Census bureau released data from the 2010 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, known as SAIPE, Tuesday. The data released covers a range of revealing statistics on child poverty rates and household incomes across the nation.The data is available online.
Among the Alaska highlights:
- Alaska ranks fourth in the nation (after Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut) for highest median household income, with $63,456. In the state with the lowest median, Mississippi, the estimate is $36,992 per year.
- The data shows poverty rates for school-aged children by school district. In several Alaskan school districts, more than 30 percent of students live under the poverty line. These school districts include the Iditarod Area School District, Lower Yukon School District, St. Mary’s City School District and Yupiit School District, all located in Western Alaska.
- The district with the highest poverty level, at 39 percent, was the Lower Yukon School District. That’s up from 35 percent in 2009. Some 690 of the Lower Yukon School District’s 1,767 children between ages 5-17 live below the federal poverty level.
- The highest poverty rate overall in the state was the Wade-Hampton Census area, with a rate of 34.1 percent. The Wade-Hampton Census area, which includes Scammon Bay, St. Mary's, Chevak and Hooper Bay, is among the counties with highest poverty rates nationwide. Other counties with rates over 30 percent are concentrated in the Mississippi Delta region, Appalachia, the Texas-Mexico border area and the “Four Corners” region of Arizona and New Mexico.
- The lowest poverty rate in the state was the Skagway Municipality area, with a rate of 4.2 percent.