According to the 2005 US Census, North Carolina has a population of 8.2 million people; our state’s population has more than doubled since 1950. Of these people, 2.9 million qualify for legal services under federal poverty guidelines. The growing population of poor is growing across the state, effecting some counties, more than others.
A sample of the counties and cities showing the greatest increase are in the table below.
So what is the cascading effect of these statistics? The poor and their children are in a spiraling abyss of poverty and violence. Unable to break away from this cycle leads to more government spending to treat the effects of poverty with little measurable results and lessens the quality of living for all North Carolinians.
For more statistics about poverty and your particular county, click here.
The average income of Legal Aid’s clients earn only $9,100 annually. Of the people Legal Aid is able to help, 80% are the working poor and 75% are women. So the general feeling that this group is lazy and unwilling to help themselves, is an untruth since 80% of them work.
Currently, Legal Aid of North Carolina’s 120 lawyers have the resources to serve only 25,000 of these persons; they have to turn away 8 out of every 10 clients simply because there is not enough staff to handle the work load. Clearly the vast majority of the poor in our state are unable to obtain the legal help they need, something many of us take for granted.
For more information on the 4ALL initiative at the North Carolina Bar Association website, click here.