Poverty rates in small towns in the Mid-Columbia tended to be higher than state and national averages between 2005 and last year, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday.
Mesa, for example, had 53 percent of the Franklin County town's estimated 472 residents lived in poverty, and had an annual median income of just $27,083.
The national median income estimated for last year was $49,777, with 14.3 percent of people living in poverty.
Washington's median income was $56,384, with 11.8 percent of people living below the poverty line, according to Census estimates.
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Last year, an income of $10,830 was considered poverty level for a single person, according to federal guidelines. The poverty line was $22,050 for a family of four.
Tuesday was the first time social, economic, housing and demographic estimates have been available for every community in the nation outside of the official census count done every 10 years.
Typically, estimates for small towns and rural areas like Kahlotus or Finley with populations less than 20,000 were available only when the census is done.
Estimates for areas with populations greater than 65,000 -- such as the combined Kennewick-Pasco-Richland area -- have been released every year based on the American Community Survey -- which annually samples Americans between census counts to describe characteristics of the U.S. population.
But with the estimates released Tuesday, Census Bureau officials now will produce annual estimates for small communities based on five years of the American Community Survey, so more information will be available about characteristics such as poverty, income, occupation and household make-up for America's small towns.
This year's estimates were based on survey responses from 2005-2009.
In Kahlotus, 33 percent of the town's 150 residents lived below the poverty line between those years, and had a median income of $27,083.
Connell's estimated 3,193 residents had a median income of $49,476, with 24 percent of them living in poverty.
The poverty rate for Othello was just about the same as Connell at 23 percent, but the median income for its 6,373 residents was about $15,000 less at $34,496 per year.
The picture was slightly better in Benton County, although incomes in Benton City and Prosser lagged behind the state and national averages while poverty rates exceeded those averages.
The median income for Benton City residents was $44,497, and 19 percent of its estimated 2,951 residents lived in poverty.
Prosser had an estimated population of 5,138, with a $38,320 median income and 17 percent in poverty.
Finley and Burbank each had median incomes above the state and national averages, but only Burbank had a lower poverty rate.
The median income for Finley was $57,419 and the poverty rate was 16 percent of the unincorporated town's 5,542 residents.
Burbank's median income was $57,571, and its poverty rate was 10 percent of the estimated 3,347 population.
For more information, visit factfinder.census.gov.
w Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org