But what about the country? It is a little known fact that a majority of those living in poverty actually live outside of the city. In 2002, 7.5 million people living below the poverty line were living in non-metro areas throughout the United States. In the same year, 1 out of every five children living in rural areas was considered to be poor. That is 2.6 million children. These children live at a great disadvantage as the school systems in these areas tend to be less than adequate, as do opportunities outside of the classroom including employment after graduation. For example, a county is considered to have a low employment level if less than 65% of its adult population are employed. 2002 statistics show that the most urban areas had approximately 6% of their population living in low-employment areas. In the most rural areas, 32% of the population was living in low-employment areas.
As a part of the Rural South, the northwest Georgia area must begin to address this problem. 280 rural persistent poverty counties are in the South -compared to 60 in the West and Midwest. There are none in the Northeast. The non-metro South makes up for 40% of the United States' non-metro population -and more than 1 in 4 people in this region live in counties of persistent poverty.
So what can we do? ...and what can YOU do?
- Take an active part in your local public school. -become a mentor or volunteer time in supporting teachers in whatever they find most helpful!
- Become a community advocate by showing up to local community meetings.
- Volunteer for local non-profits who are making an effort to help those in need.
- Talk with leaders in your church about reaching out to the poor of your community. Your church could start a program ...or simply build relationships with those around you!
- Support Hope for Northwest Georgia. We are here to connect churches with the poor in their communities.
- Pray. God is more than capable of redeeming any and every community for His glory!
For more info, check out the following link or contact the Hope office.