MEDIA RELEASE: Report: Most impoverished North Carolina counties top lottery sales list

Report: Most impoverished North Carolina counties top lottery sales list
 
RALEIGH (Dec. 17, 2010) -- North Carolina’s adults are spending an average of $200 a year on scratch tickets,  an investigative report from NC Policy Watch finds – and the state’s poorest counties are also its biggest lottery consumers.
 
The most impoverished counties in North Carolina had the highest per capita lottery sales, an NC Policy Watch review of lottery data found. Out of the 20 counties with poverty rates higher than 20 percent, 18 had lottery sales topping the statewide average of $200 per adult.
 
This report, featuring an interactive map with a county-by-county breakdown of lottery sales, is available at www.ncpolicywatch.com. The county map can be viewed at http://www.ncpolicywatch.org/swf/lotterymap/.
 
The state sold $1.4 billion worth of scratch tickets and number games during the last fiscal year.
 
The highest per capita sales were $536.11 in NashCounty. The lowest were in MadisonCounty on the N.C.-Tennessee border, with $25.41 in sales for every adult. A list of the top 10 counties and bottom 10 counties by per capita sales can be found at the end of this email.
 
Some of the most impoverished counties in the eastern part of the state also had some of the highest per-adult lottery sales. WashingtonCounty (21.8% poverty in 2000) sold $435.84 worth of tickets per adult, while Tyrrell (23.3% poverty in 2000) had $349.79 in sales. BertieCounty (23.5% in 2000) had $386.64 and Edgecombe (22.9% in 2008) had $468.99 in sales per adult.
 
Per capita sales were lowest in the western part of the state, and picked up significantly in the eastern stretch of North Carolina.
 
To create the analysis, NC Policy Watch requested and received data of county sales for the 2009-10 fiscal year, and then compared those figures with the 2009 adult populations of each county as estimated by the U.S. Census. Policy Watch then compared those figures with the U.S. Census’ 2008 poverty rates for each county, the most up-to-date numbers available.
 
TEN HIGHEST COUNTIES IN PER CAPITA LOTTERY SALES
 
BERTIE                   
Poverty rate: 23.3 percent
Per capita sales: $386.64
 
MARTIN                  
Poverty rate: 17.7 percent
Per capita sales: $407.58
 
LENOIR                  
Poverty rate: 23.5 percent
Per capita sales: $423.92
 
WILSON                  
Poverty rate: 21 percent
Per capita sales: $428.40
 
HYDE                    
Poverty rate: 22.4
Per capita sales: $434.14
 
WASHINGTON              
Poverty rate: 23.2
Per capita sales: $435.84
 
EDGECOMBE               
Poverty rate: 22.6
Per capita sales: $468.88
 
HALIFAX                 
Poverty rate: 23.7
Per capita sales: $471.95
 
VANCE                   
Poverty rate: 25.7
Per capita sales: $488.25
 
NASH                    
Poverty rate: 15.5
Per capita sales: $536.11
 
 
TEN LOWEST COUNTIES IN PER CAPITA LOTTERY SALES
 
MADISON                 
Poverty rate: 13.8
Per capita sales: $25.41
 
CLAY                    
Poverty rate: 15.2
Per capita sales:  $45.47
 
GRAHAM                  
Poverty rate: 17.7
Per capita sales: $61.97
 
MACON                   
Poverty rate: 14.6
Per capita sales:  $68.60
 
SWAIN                   
Poverty rate: 16.1
Per capita sales:  $71.72
 
YANCEY                  
Poverty rate: 18.4
Per capita sales:  $73.24
 
WATAUGA                 
Poverty rate: 18.9
Per capita sales:  $78.14
 
CHEROKEE                
Poverty rate: 17.9
Per capita sales:  $84.13
 
POLK                    
Poverty rate: 12.3
Per capita sales:  $84.62
 
YADKIN                  
Poverty rate: 13.8
Per capita sales:  $94.32
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Sarah Ovaska, NC Policy Watch, 919.861.1463 (office), 919.606.6112 (mobile) or  sarah@ncpolicywatch.com; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center, 503.551.3615 or jeff@ncjustice.org.