Indicators of financial self-sufficiency are a critical benchmark of a community’s well-being.
In this section we highlight the trends for several indicators including: 1) median household income; 2) poverty; 3) eligibility for free and reduced school lunch; 4) subsidized child care; and 5) the Earned Income Tax Credit.
In all cases, comparisons to state statistics reflect the state excluding New York City.
Since 2000, Dutchess held its economic ground as median incomes remained flat, counter to the declines in the state and nation. Poverty rates increased only slightly. The proportion of children receiving subsidized child care grew slightly since 2007, and a higher proportion of students were eligible for free or reduced price lunches. The percentage of individuals receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit increased at a rate consistent with the region, state, and nation.
Median household incomes have declined over the past decade, similar to the declines experienced by the state and nation.
At $72,500 in 2010-14, median incomes in Dutchess were above the levels for the region ($68,050), state ($62,600) and nation ($53,500). Household incomes decreased in both Dutchess and Orange by 4% and by 3% in Ulster since 2000.
Asian and white residents in Dutchess had the highest median incomes, at about $100,000 and $75,000, respectively. African American and Hispanic residents had lower median incomes (at $47,000 and $52,000, respectively) consistent with trends in the region, state and nation.
Poverty rates have increased slightly since 2000.
Dutchess County continued to have the lowest poverty rates in the region. In 2010-14, about 9% of people living in Dutchess were living in poverty, below the 12% for the state, 11% for the region, and 16% for the nation. The poverty rate in Dutchess increased by 1 percentage point since 2000. About 5% of seniors and 5% of veterans were living in poverty.
Poverty rates were highest for African American residents (19%), followed by Hispanic residents (16%), and white residents (7%). Dutchess’ rates in each racial and ethnic group were lower than national and state rates.
A low percentage of children have received subsidized child care over the decade.
In 2014, 1.9% of children were receiving subsidized care, below the 2.4% for the state and similar to the 1.6% for the region.
A higher proportion of students in Dutchess County was eligible for free or reduced price lunches in 2014 compared to 2005, similar to statewide trends.
In 2014, 30% of students in Dutchess were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, below the 37% for the region and the 38% for the state. Despite increasing 9 percentage points since 2005, Dutchess consistently had the lowest rate in the region, well below Orange and Ulster counties (40% and 39%, respectively).
The percentage of Dutchess residents receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has increased over the decade.
About 12% of tax filers in Dutchess County received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2013, lower than the rates for the state (15%) and nation (20%). The participation rate was up 4 percentage points from 2000. Dutchess consistently had the lowest participation rate compared to other counties in the region.