South Coast Poverty Rates Edged Lower in 2019

by Guy Tauer

January 8, 2021

Recently released poverty rates from the Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates Program show continuing improvement in the share of the South Coast population living in poverty. The all age poverty rate declined from 15.9% in 2018 to 15.6% in 2019 in Coos County. Curry County’s poverty rate, while slightly lower than Coos County’s, also declined over the year from 14.9% to 13.4%. Coos County’s poverty rate most recently peaked in 2012 at 20.6%. Curry’s rate peaked in 2013 at 18.7%. Both counties’ rates have trended lower since those peaks just after the end of the Great Recession.

It’s important to keep in mind that these are estimates. At the 90% confidence interval, the Census Bureau shows Coos County’s poverty rate for 2019 between 12.8% and 18.8%. While the poverty rate estimate did decline from 2018 to 2019, the change is not statistically significant due to the large margin of error in these data.

There were 9,867 Coos County residents estimated to be living in poverty in 2019, down from 10,005 the prior year. In Curry County, an estimated 3,054 residents lived in poverty in 2019, down from 3,381 the year before. South Coast poverty rates in 2019 were essentially back to the low point seen in the early 2000s period.
Youth Poverty Rates

The Census Bureau also provides poverty rate estimates for youth, for those ages 18 and under and the typical school-age population for those ages five to 17. Turning to the 18 and under age group, the rates are higher than for the overall population. Declines in the poverty rates were estimated for both South Coast counties from 2018 to 2019. Coos County’s overall youth poverty rate fell from 24.1% to 21.9% in 2019. Curry’s youth poverty rate fell from 22.3% to 19.9%. Youth poverty rates were close to their 20-year low points, and at the 90% confidence level range, essentially equal to those low points going back two decades.
Median Household Income

The South Coast saw rising median household income between 2018 and 2019. Coos County’s median household income rose from $48,788 in 2018 to $49,504 in 2019, an increase of 2.4%. Curry County saw a gain as median household income rose from $48,788 to $51,767 or a rise of 6.1%. Oregon’s median household income rose from $63,168 to $66,955 in 2019, a gain of 6.0%. As the economy was hit by the global pandemic in 2020, it’s likely the 2020 figures will be knocked a bit off course from these improving trends in recent years.
For more information and data for other areas see: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/saipe.html.


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