KIDS COUNT: CHILDREN IN POVERTY WORSENING IN CALHOUN - County Ranks Poor Infant Mortality, Reduced Lunch Recipients, High School Drop-Outs


By Bob Weaver

The latest figure for children living in poverty in Calhoun County indicates a worsening situation, according to WV KIDS COUNT.

Since gross poverty was first reported in the 1960's, the poverty level in the county peaked in 1995 at 43.7% percent, after which there was considerable improvement.

The latest statistic indicates a gradual increase from a low of 26% in 1998 to 34% in 2005.

The collapsing economy, loss of jobs and food costs continuing to rise, lend to further poverty concerns in a number of West Virginia counties.

The percentage of children in poverty is the share of children under age 18 who live in families with incomes below the U.S. poverty threshold as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2002, the poverty threshold for a family of two adults and two children was $18,244.


1980 34.7%

1990 37.1%

1995 43.7%

1997 33.2%

1998 26.7%

1999 30.4%

2000 29.5%

2001 30.6%

2002 33.5%

2003 29.5%

2004 29.0%

2005 34.0%

The percent of children living in a single parent household has increased from 13.2% in 1980 to 20% in 2000.


The number of children enrolled in the Calhoun school system's free and reduced price food program is considered a key indicator about economic conditions.

In 2007 the Calhoun number was 70.7%, with the county ranking 52nd worst of the state's 55 counties.

In 1990 the number of Calhoun kids eligible was 61.5%.

McDowell County had the most students in the program at 83.8%.

Regional counties: Wirt 54.1% (20th); Ritchie 55.9% (25th); Roane 60.4% (41st); Gilmer 62.4% (46th); Braxton, 62.6%(47); Clay 72.6 (53rd).


The number of infant deaths increased 320% in 2006 with 10.4 deaths per thousand, making Calhoun rank near the bottom at 47 of 55 counties.


Calhoun had worsening KIDS COUNT indicators related to the number of high school drop-outs with 21.6% in 2006, increasing from 18.4% in 2005. Calhoun ranked 51 of 55 counties, near the bottom. The state's average drop-out rate is 16.8%.


Calhoun teens age 15-19 was 43.3% of 1000 females (ages 10-19), an improvement, with the county ranking 19 of 55 in percent of births to unmarried teens, at 8.6%, another improvement.

There was a large percentage of births (21.0%) to mothers with less than a 12th grade education, poor rating at 52nd of 55 counties.

See complete statistics

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