Poverty rate in Washington misleading

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by NATASHA RYAN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 6:51 AM

LYNNWOOD, Wash. -- Nearly one in six people in the U.S. lived in poverty last year, but Washington state's poverty rate actually dropped slightly to 11.5 percent. One Snohomish County charity says our state's statistics don't match up to the need.

In a vibrant atmosphere with kids smiling ear to ear, volunteers couldn't be happier to be spending their night at the Clothes for Kids store.

It's a program that provides low-income families with winter wardrobes for their children. Sopars Tauch has a daughter, Summer, and is happy "she actually gets to shop for herself." Each child is given a checklist of items they get to pick from the store.

One young girl we spoke with told us she couldn't wait to come back this year because last year she found a dress that looked brand new. Families are grateful because without this program, they wouldn't be able to afford outfitting their children.

The new study says 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty. The University of Washington released its own study showing our state's rate is below the national average. However, Associate Professor Marieka Klawitter says "Washington still has the highest poverty rate it's seen in more than ten, fifteen years."

Clothes for Kids says that's evident to them. Joy Ingram, the development director, says she was on the phone with a mother who said, "I hope I have enough gas to get there." She says they continue to see an increase in need.

Tauch says she can't wait to be the one donating clothes one day. "It'll be nice to do that."
 

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