February 25, 2020
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Nation’s poverty rate drops, but Maine’s does not

Abigail Curtis | BDN
Abigail Curtis | BDN
Children from Captain Albert Stevens Elementary School bring boxes of soap and other hygiene products Thursday to the storage area for the Soap Closet, a group that is working to help low-income folks have access to items they need to care for themselves, in this March 2013 file photo.

PORTLAND, Maine — The percentage of people living in poverty in neighboring New Hampshire and Vermont fell with the national rate last year, but in Maine, the trend is essentially flat.

The latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau estimate Maine’s poverty rate did fall, to 13.4 percent, but the estimate comes with the caveat that the move could be the result of a relatively small survey.

For 23 states, the survey confirmed poverty rates had declined. No state had an estimated rise in poverty rates.

For Maine, the 2015 survey estimated that 172,620 people — give or take about 9,200 — were living in poverty, defined at certain income levels based on the size of a household.

The survey estimates poverty remained more prevalent among Maine’s minority populations and that a greater share of women were below the poverty line than men.

By age, the estimates indicate that children younger than 5 years old and people ages 18 to 34 were most often living in poverty, with the lowest rates for people 35 to 64 and for people 65 and older.

By education, the estimates for 2015 found that about one in three people without a high school diploma were living in poverty. That’s compared with about one in six people with a diploma, about one in 10 with some college or an associate degree and about one in 25 people with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

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