South Carolina Structural Factors Associated with Poverty

South Carolina Structural Factors Associated with Poverty

While the official poverty rate in South Carolina was 16 percent in 2018 — slightly above the national average of 14.1 percent — poverty in the state is shaped by complex, multiple factors that collectively impact nearly every resident, a research brief from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, in partnership with the Rural & Minority Health Research Center at the University of South Carolina, finds. The brief, South Carolina Structural Factors Associated with Poverty (84 pages, PDF), examined six such factors — economic stability, neighborhood and physical environment, education, food security, community and social context, and health care — and found that many South Carolinians are unable to make a living wage, achieve financial self-sufficiency, and accumulate assets; lack access to affordable housing and/or transportation and are exposed to natural disaster risks; face disparities in access to high-quality K-12 education and barriers to postsecondary educational and employment opportunities; experience food insecurity; lack adequate representation in decision-making processes and suffer disproportionately from structural racism; and lack access to affordable local healthcare services. The brief notes that in addition to racial/ethnic disparities, geographic disparities factor into negative outcomes for rural residents of the state.