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When It Comes To Child Poverty, Arizona Runs Counter To National Trends

When it comes to child poverty rates, Arizona numbers run counter to national trends. The latest state statistics show a higher percentage of children in rural communities live in poverty than their urban counterparts.

According to recent census data, the child poverty rate in urban areas outpaces rural by about 4 percent. The opposite is the case in Arizona.

Joshua Oehler, a policy analyst with Children’s Action Alliance, said part of that has to do with the makeup of rural counties in this state.

Oehler said manufacturing historically carried those counties on the east coast. But in Arizona, rural counties like Apache and Navajo are made up largely of Native American reservations.

"The challenges and the structural impediments towards getting out of poverty in those areas are especially pernicious," Oehler explained. "So I think that’s probably some of the differences between Arizona and the rest of the country."

Oehler added, economically, industries like ranching, farming and mining are the most common in rural Arizona counties.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.