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Idaho’s poverty rate continued its upward climb in 2011, rising to 16.5 percent. That’s higher than the national rate of people living in poverty, which grew to 15.9 percent last year.Put another way, more than 255,000 Idahoans lived below the federal poverty guideline last year.The state’s poverty rate has climbed each year since 2007, when 12.1 percent of state residents lived below the poverty line. While the rate grew by 1.4 percent from 2008 to 2009 and again from 2009 to 2010, it grew by less than a percentage point from 2010 to 2011.

Share Of Idahoans Receiving Welfare Declines, Rate Still Higher Than Most


Idaho is one of only six states that saw a decrease in the number of people on public assistance, or welfare, in 2012, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The government agency looked at cash payments to the poor through programs like TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), not in-kind programs like SNAP (food stamps).

Nationally there was little change in the rate of public assistance between 2011 and 2012. But that year, Idaho went from 3.5 percent of families receiving help with government cash to 3 percent.

The decline is perhaps good news, still, more Idahoans are getting welfare payments than residents of most other states.

In 2000, fewer than 2 percent of Idaho households got public assistance. Idaho’s increase over those 12 years was one of the largest in the country.  

Among Idaho’s neighbors, Washington, Oregon and Nevada have a higher percentage of people receiving cash support.

Find reporter Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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