Birmingham, AL – Alabama is still the nation's economic basement, but at least things aren't getting worse. The Census Bureau estimates that an average of 14-point-six percent of Alabama's four-point-four (M) million residents lived in poverty from 2000 through last year. That's higher than the national average of 11-point-seven percent over the same period and among the nation's worst poverty rates.
The number represents an average of 642-thousand-400 poor in the state over the three years. But while poverty rose and income levels declined nationally in 2002 for the second straight year, the numbers in Alabama last year didn't change enough to detect a trend -- either good or bad.