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There are several community initiatives working to better understand and combat poverty in Mecklenburg County. To successfully impact poverty as parents, providers, and citizens, we must operate from shared understandings of the problem. In addition to considering a Living Income Standard, we must also consider the varying types of poverty experienced by children and families[1]:


  • Situational poverty: usually temporary and brought on by an unforeseen emergency or loss such as an illness, death in the family, divorce, or natural disaster
  • Generational poverty:and characterized by families where two or more generations are born into poverty and are likely ill-equipped to move out of it
  • Absolute poverty: characterized by a lack of what are considered basic necessities such as shelter, food, electricity, and
  • Relative poverty: based on society and location, relative poverty is characterized as an inability to meet the basic standards of living due to inadequate income
  • Urban poverty: due to demand of living in large, densely populated areas (50,000+ people), urban poverty is characterized by a dependence on services largely inadequate to address the needs associated with chronic stressors (exposure to violence, transportation barriers, increased pollution, etc.)
  • Rural poverty: characterized by a scarcity of resources (education opportunities, health and mental health services, support for disabilities, etc.) available in less populated areas (>50,000 people),
[1] Jensen, E. Teaching with poverty in mind: What being poor does to kids’ brains and what schools can do about it. ASCD Publishing: Alexandria, Va.

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