After years, even decades of trailing behind the rest of the state, Coos County may be headed in a better economic direction.
New numbers from the American Community Survey, which is released each year by the U.S. Census Bureau, puts the percent of people living in poverty in Coos last year at 11.7%.
That figure is slightly lower than the poverty rates for Belknap and Carroll Counties, which were 12.5% and 12.3% respectively, marking the first time Coos has not been last in the state in the three years of ACS reports.
Phil Sletten, a policy analyst with the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, says Coos still trails in other economic measurements, such as median household income, though that number is also on the rise.
“Seeing what appears to be an increase in median household income, and a decrease in the poverty rate, is encouraging news for Coos County,” says Sletten.
Rockingham County saw the lowest poverty rate at 3.6-percent, followed by Strafford County at 6.2-percent.
Along with the highest overall poverty rate, Belknap also had the highest percent of children under age 18 living in poverty, with 1 in 4 meeting that threshold. Coos, at 23.7-percent, and Carroll County at 22.1-percent, were close behind.
Sletten cautions that ACS “point estimates” are based on a smaller sample size than the entire census, and are therefore likely to shift more from year to year.