B y Dan King and Christina Scanlon

Poverty is rampant in northern Washington County.

Data compiled in 2013 and recently released shows the levels of poverty in Washington County and the 17 towns in the county. The three with the highest percentage of poverty all fell in the northern part: Dresden with a rate at 28.3 percent, Whitehall at 20.2 percent and Granville with 18.32 percent.

Whitehall Supervisor George Armstrong said he will be speaking with other supervisors to see what can be done with the data.

“I undoubtedly will talk to the other supervisors to see how they use this data and see what grants they think are available,” he said.

Granville Supervisor Matt Hicks said his plans for the data are similar to Armstrong’s.

“It’s interesting data,” Hicks said. “Where you lay in it, gives you a leg up on grants.” Poverty

Although property in Dresden has one of the highest assessed values in the county, much of that property is owned by people who are not full-time residents of Dresden.

Many people own summer homes on Lake Champlain or Lake George in the town of Dresden.

The towns with high poverty rates didn’t fare much better in median household income or per capita income either. Dresden was second worst in both those categories, Whitehall was third worst in both, and Granville was fourth worst in both.

In Dresden the median household income was $45,000 and the per capita was $18,384. In Whitehall those numbers were $45,098 and $20,023, and in Granville they were $45,162 and $20,720.

Hebron didn’t fare too much better than its neighbors to the north, ranking 14th in poverty level, with 17.8 percent; 13th in household income, at $49,286; and 9th in per capita income, at $25,532.

It wasn’t all bad for the northern half of the county, as Hartford and Hampton both ranked in the top three lowest for poverty rate. Hartford had the second-lowest at 6.9 percent and Hampton the third lowest at 7.2 percent.

Hampton Supervisor Dave O’Brien, who compiled the data using information from the 2013 census update, said he was interested in sharing the numbers with the entire Board of Supervisors as low poverty rates can put towns at the top of the list for grant funding.

Hartford’s household income was third best at $63,750 and its per capita was tenth best at $23,919. Hampton’s household income was eighth at $54,230 and its per capita was eleventh at $23,557.

Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff pointed to the household income statistic as the most important one for his municipality.

“We have a very high household income,” Haff said. “This is very good. Out of 17 towns in this county we’re doing better than 15.”

The only two towns with higher household incomes than Hartford were Easton at $70,400 and Cambridge at $69,219. Easton also had the county’s lowest poverty rate at 5.1 percent.

Hicks noted the town of Easton is the closest to Global Foundries, a computer chip-maker. He said he didn’t know if the several thousand people the plant employs had an effect on the data.

“It’s difficult to interpret,” he said.

Although the poverty percentages in northern Washington County are high, the raw number of people living in poverty doesn’t seem as startling. In Hebron 308 people live in poverty, 37 of whom are children. In Granville, 1,115 people live in poverty, 120 of whom are children. In Hartford 157 people live in poverty, none of whom are children.

Haff was skeptical of the child poverty stat, though, saying, “I don’t think I believe that we don’t have a single child in poverty. It’s kind of like what Mark Twain said, ‘lies, lies and statistics’.”

The census data defines children as those under the age of 5.

Of the 59,622 people across the 17 towns,, 7,891 live in poverty, 848 of whom are children. The countywide poverty rate is 13.2 percent and the countywide child poverty rate is 26.44 percent.



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