The Great Recession that caused double-digit unemployment and record home foreclosure levels in southern Nevada also sharply drove up the area’s poverty rate.
Census Bureau data for 2010, the latest available, pegged Clark County’s poverty rate at 15.1 percent, considerably higher than the 10.3 percent rate recorded in 2006. The county’s estimated population living in poverty increased from 180,521 to 291,272.
The bureau in 2010 defined the poverty level for a family of four, including two children, to be $22,113. The poverty level for individuals living alone averaged $11,139.
The data, which represents estimates taken from the bureau’s annual American Community Survey, found a substantial increase in children living in poverty. In 2010, 22.8 percent of Clark County children under age 18 lived in poverty versus 14.4 percent in 2006.
By gender the poverty rate for the county’s females rose from 11.2 percent to 16.3 percent. For males the poverty rate went from 9.4 percent to 13.9 percent.
Among racial and ethnic groups, poverty has hit black residents the hardest. Their poverty rate in the county went from 15.2 percent in 2006 to 25.4 percent in 2010. For Hispanics of any race the poverty rate rose from 15.5 percent to 21.5 percent. For non-Hispanic whites the poverty rate went from 7.1 percent to 9.7 percent.
Education levels also played a major role in the poverty numbers. The poverty rate for those without a high school diploma rose from 16.3 percent to 22.6 percent. In contrast, the poverty rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree increased slightly from 4.7 percent to 5.1 percent. That means a county resident without a diploma is more than four times as likely to live in poverty as someone with a bachelor’s degree.