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Report: Poverty in Massachusetts Too High in Too Many Places

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, the state’s nonprofit association, released the second edition of “Commonwealth Insights,” focusing on county-level poverty rates throughout Massachusetts. The report, utilizing recently released data from the American Community Survey, takes an in-depth look at poverty rates in Massachusetts geographically, their connections to unemployment and high-school dropout rates, and policy recommendations for addressing county-by-county poverty throughout the state.

“Nonprofits of all types work to improve people’s lives and help communities thrive,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. “This data, particularly the number of children living in poverty throughout the state, reminds us that there is more work to be done. The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network will continue to work with leaders in the nonprofit, government, philanthropic, business, and civic sectors to expand opportunity and strengthen communities.”

The findings show that, while Massachusetts is ranked 13th-best in the nation with an 11.5% poverty rate, county-level poverty rates are as high as 20% in some regions and are closely linked to unemployment rates. For children, county-level poverty rates are as high as 30% in some regions and closely align with high-school dropout rates.

The report also includes five policy recommendations to begin addressing county-by-county poverty in Massachusetts: expanding job growth policies statewide and regionally, strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit, minimizing the cliff effect, doing more to help students complete high school, and creating new partnerships and collaborations between the nonprofit, government, and business sectors.

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