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Addressing Growing Poverty In Multnomah County

OPB | June 25, 2014 12:06 p.m. | Updated: June 25, 2014 3:23 p.m.

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Poverty in Multnomah County has increased at twice the rate of population growth in the last 20 years, according to a new study (pdf) commissioned by the county. The number of people whose income is at or below the federal poverty level — defined as an annual income of $23,850 for a family of four — increased 65 percent between 1990 and 2010.

Using a different metric, the Self-Sufficiency Standard developed by the Center for Women’s Welfare, the report found that more than one-third of Multnomah County residents can’t meet their basic needs. The Self-Sufficiency Standard varies geographically and by family type. For Multnomah County, it correlates to $65,522 a year for a family of four. Families who make less than that generally must rely on food banks, public subsidies or help from relatives to make ends meet, says study author Kristina Smock. The report stops short of making concrete recommendations about what the county should do to alleviate poverty.

Do you live in Multnomah County? What do you think would help reduce poverty in the area?

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