Families in North Carolina are still reeling from the Great Recession, which pushed thousands of people into poverty and deepened the hardships of those already struggling to afford the basics. Prolonged economic insecurity comes on top of decades of growing income inequality and a weak economy during the 2000s.

  • In 2014, 17.2 percent of North Carolinians (or nearly 1.7 million people) lived below the federal poverty line. This meager threshold was $23,850 for a family of four in 2014.
  • The poverty rate is 20 percent higher compared to 2007, when the Great Recession began.
  • In 2014, more than 712,000 North Carolinians lived in deep poverty, defined as an annual income of roughly $11,900 for a family of four.
  • In 2014, North Carolina’s poverty and child poverty rates are among the worst, ranking at the 12th and 13th highest levels in the nation, respectively.
  • Children, women, and people of color experience poverty at higher levels—on average—compared to the average North Carolinian.

Although these poverty statistics are bleak, they dramatically underestimate the depth and breadth of economic hardship because the federal poverty line is widely recognized as a flawed measure.