MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A new study shows that despite rising child poverty rates in Berkeley County, the Eastern Panhandle is still below the state average for West Virginia.
West Virginia KIDS COUNT, a nonprofit group based in Charleston, W.Va., found the child poverty rate in Berkeley County increased 8.6 percent between 1980 and 1996, with 20.2 percent of the county's children growing up in poverty compared to a 30 percent average statewide and 20.8 percent nationally.
Jefferson and Morgan counties, however, showed decreases in the child poverty rates since 1980.
Morgan County dropped 11.1 percent with 18.4 percent of its children living in poverty and Jefferson County dropped .6 percent with 17.1 percent of children living in poverty, according to the study.
The lower poverty rates in the Eastern Panhandle compared to other parts of the state can be attributed to an increase in higher paying jobs in and around the area, said KIDS COUNT Executive Director Margie Hale.