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Our World 2023: Poverty in Rhode Island

Poverty in Rhode Island

This page is all about poverty in Rhode Island. It includes statistics, polls, reflections, and terms to know about poverty. Take a moment to look through the many resources added onto this page, which discuss how poverty impacts healthcare, social justice, and education.

POVERTY EDUCATION POLL

What type of poverty do you know the least about?
Social Poverty: 34 votes (12.64%)
Educational Poverty: 9 votes (3.35%)
Health Poverty: 9 votes (3.35%)
Spiritual Poverty: 166 votes (61.71%)
Environmental Poverty: 29 votes (10.78%)
Economic Poverty: 22 votes (8.18%)
Total Votes: 269

REFLECTION QUESTION: COVID-19

Have you or a loved one been personally affected by any form of poverty during COVID-19? What do you think would most help those affected by poverty during this pandemic?

Reflection Question #1

How can you help those in poverty in your community?

SURVEY

TOP 5 RI CITIES FACING POVERTY

Based on Median Household Income

1. Central Falls 

2. Woonsocket 

3. Providence 

4. Pawtucket 

5. West Warwick 

 

RI POVERTY ASSISTANCE AGENCIES

Crossroads Rhode Island

Crossroads is the leading provider of housing and services to those who are homeless in Rhode Island. Their services include 24-hour emergency services, education and employment resources, and comprehensive case management. 

http://crossroadsri.org/


RI Meals on Wheels 

Meals on Wheels is an organization that delivers food to senior citizens that physically cannot make their own food. Those assisted by Meals on Wheels usually cannot leave their home to buy food or receive meals at an adult day care center. 

http://www.rimeals.org/programs

ISSUES OF TODAY: Poverty and COVID-19

The harsh realities of poverty have been rising in Rhode Island because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are still left unemployed, and also do not have health insurance to cover regular expenses as well as COVID-19 hospitalizations and testing. This is a time in which health inequity is prevalent, and people may not receive the necessary medical care if they do not make enough money. COVID-19 has the potential to cause life-threatening symptoms, no matter one’s economic status. This box is dedicated to sharing resources for Rhode Island residents who are struggling with poverty during this pandemic, including health coverage and workers’ rights.

COVID-19: GETTING HEALTH COVERAGE AND HEALTH CARE: https://www.economicprogressri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/4-20-Health-Coverage-and-Health-Care-COVID-19-ENG.pdf

COVID-19 WORKERS’ RIGHTS AND SICK LEAVE LAWS: https://www.economicprogressri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/7-24-ENG-Worker-Rights-2-pages.docx.pdf

 

THE BASICS OF HEALTH EQUITY IN RHODE ISLAND

PYRAMID OF ACHIEVING HEALTH EQUITY

TERMS AND ACRONYMS TO KNOW

Concentrated Poverty: a neighborhood where 30 percent or more of its population is living in poverty. 


Opportunity Gapthe ways in which race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English proficiency, community wealth, familial situations, or other factors contribute to lower educational aspirations and achievement. 


TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; also known as welfare. 


SNAP: Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program

SNAP provides benefits to low-income families in order for them to purchase healthy, nutritious food. 

Information on SNAP: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program


LIHEAP: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program 

LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that assists low-income families with their energy bills.

Information on LIHEAP: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/liheap


Medicaid: a federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicaid, including nursing home care and personal care services

SPOTLIGHT ON POVERTY: Rhode Island

 Participation in Federal Programs

  • Approximately 11,000 Rhode Island residents receive welfare. 
  • Eight out of 1,000 Rhode Island children are in foster care. 
  • 66,000 Rhode Island children receive food stamps. 
  • 29,772 Rhode Island households are currently in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. 

  • 123,104 children are currently enrolled in Medicaid.

  • 19,501 women and children receive WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) supplemental nutrition. 


Poverty by Demographics

  • The child poverty rate in Rhode Island is 16.3%.
  • 29% of single-parent families are below the poverty line. 
  • The senior poverty rate in Rhode Island is 9.0%.
  • 13.1% of Rhode Island women live in poverty. 

Economic Well-Being 

  • Rhode Island's minimum wage is $10.10. 
  • 4.6% of Rhode Island individuals are uninsured. 
  • The unemployment rate in Rhode Island is 4.4%. 
  • 20.3% of Rhode Island jobs are considered low-wage. 
  • On average, Rhode Island women only make 83.6¢ for every dollar a man makes. 

Education 

  • 64% of RI college graduates have student debt. 
  • The average amount of student debt for a Rhode Island college graduate is $30,549.
  • 31% of Rhode Island's population over age 25 have a four-year college degree or more. 
  • Rhode Island's high school graduation rate is 83.1%

Food Insecurity 

(Information provided by the Rhode Island Community Food Bank)

  • 12.8% of households (56,320) were food insecure in 2016.
  • 171,055 Rhode Islanders were enrolled in SNAP.
  • $132 is the average monthly SNAP benefit per person.
  • 22% of those assisted by the RI Community Food Bank are in, or have a family member in poor health.
  • 70% of those assisted by the RI Community Food Bank report having to choose between paying for food or utilities.

FAST FACTS

  • The median household income in Rhode Island is $63,296.
  • The poverty line is $24,860 for a family of four. 
  • 12.9% of Rhode Island residents live in poverty.
  • 12.4% of Rhode Island households experienced food insecurity between 2015 and 2017.

ARTICLE: Latest poverty data highlight barriers to economic security for RIers, especially communities of color

https://upriseri.com/2020-09-18-epi/

This article connects the ideas of poverty, systemic racism, and COVID-19. Like the rest of the United States, as well as countries all over the world, Rhode Islanders have been struggling with poverty during these tough times. As many residents of the United States have began a stronger fight for racial justice, now is an important time to research how people of color are disproportionately affected by issues involving poverty. 

ARTICLE: Providence Opportunity Gap

ARTICLE: RIC Addresses Lack of ESL Teachers in Rhode Island

ARTICLE: Rhode Island is the Poorest New England State

The poverty rate in Rhode Island is higher than any other New England state. There is also a hunger problem in Rhode Island as well. 

ARTICLE: Food Stamps in Rhode Island

This article explains that many Rhode Island residents that receive SNAP benefits also have to receive assistance from food pantries in order to have an adequate amount of food to feed their families. It also explains that the majority of families receiving SNAP benefits have at least one working adult in the family, suggesting that some wages for certain jobs do not allow people to make ends meet.