Clay - Headlines

Poverty statistics show mixed picture in Eastern Kentucky

By: Tanner Hesterberg Email
By: Tanner Hesterberg Email

MANCHESTER, Ky. (WYMT) - New statistics show a mixed picture when it comes to Eastern Kentuckians living in poverty.

Numbers from the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics show the poverty rate in Kentucky's Appalachian counties is 6.5 percent higher than the state average.

Nearly 16 percent more people live in poverty in Clay County than the state average. However, Clay County's poverty rate dropped nearly six percent from 1990 to 2012.

"It does look depressing when it shows your poverty level very high," Clay County Judge Executive Joe Asher said. "It's a slow process to move up. And we are moving."

Clay County has yet to feel the full effect of massive coal layoffs in Eastern Kentucky, Asher said.

The judge executive said the biggest key to decreasing the county's poverty rate is attracting jobs to the area.

Companies usually consider several factors before deciding whether to expand here, Asher said.

"What kind of road system we have so they can get in and out here. Our water...we can supply the water with them. And the buildings. Their need for their type of business, what kind of building do they need."

Margaret Seal has lived in Clay County her whole life and says quality of life seems to be improving.

"I'm glad because I like to see people do well and have what they need," Seal said. "And they can do that if they will manage. That's the key."

The see full statistics on the county where you live, visit

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