Overall poverty shows slight improvement

Minnesota’s poverty rate has shown slight improvement, but child poverty remains stubbornly high.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau pegs the state’s overall poverty rate at 11.4 percent. Median income remains flat at about $59,000 annually. Child poverty remains stuck at 15 percent.

State demographer Susan Brower tells Minnesota Public Radio News that more children are living with a single parent, which may be one explanation for the unchanging child poverty rate. Brower says 70 percent of all children in poverty live with one parent, which makes them more vulnerable to changes in unemployment and economic downturns.

Maxfield Elementary Principal Nancy Stachel says poverty makes it more difficult for students to concentrate because they’re worried about other aspects of their lives.