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“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” — 1 John 1:7 Listen to chapter Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Powered by BibleGateway.com.

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Contrasting Strategies for Embracing Loudoun

This post is the first in a series focusing on uniquely contrasting needs in Loudoun County and strategies for meeting these needs. Data is from the 2010 census, 5 year data.

Approximately 14% of the community has visible needs and 4% have significant needs because family income falls below the Federal poverty standards. These families experience hunger, housing and health problems, as well as educational, language, vocational and transportation challenges. The needs in the remaining 86% of the community exist in less visible forms that impact the quality of family and community life, e.g. economic, vocational, marriage and pace of life stresses.

Loudoun County has the highest median family annual income level in the USA ($119,000). This affluence contrasts with the 14% in the community who have family incomes of less than $50,000 and the 4% at less than $23,050 annually (family of four).

Economic disparities are extreme (>$70,000) between the 14% and 86% groups, explaining the relative poverty and affluence in the community. Over ten years:

  • No. people below Federal standard increasing: 7,794 (2.9%) to 11,525 (3.7%)
  • No. children below Federal standard increasing: 2,202 (2.9%) to 4,026 (4.2%)
  • Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) increasing: Individuals: 6,758 to 13,133 (4.2%), Households: 2,852 to 5,189 (5.4%)
  • Free & reduced lunches: 6,467 (13.8%) to 10,296 (16.0%)
  • Unemployment rate increasing: 2.0% to 4.6%

Educational performance is correlated with economic disadvantage. Passing scores in Standards of Learning (SOL) tests average 14% lower between the two groups:

  • Not disadvantaged: Reading=92%, Math=95%, Science=96%, History=96%
  • Disadvantaged: Reading=76%, Math=79%, Science=81%, History=86%

The Hispanic community stands out in a number of areas that may inform how the needs of this community are served:

  • While the county 10 year population growth rate has been 18% (265,000 to 312,000), the Hispanic population rate has been 282% (5.9% to 12.4% of the total population).
  • 27.1% of Hispanic pre-school children are not ready for Kindergarten (compared to an average of approximately 10-12%).

The economy continues to squeeze Americans’ charitable giving.  There has been a significant impact from economic downturn since 2008. 34% feel “personally affected in a major way.” 41% have reduced donations to non-profits and 34% have reduced donations to churches / religious organizations (Barna Group, April 2012; margin of error estimated to be within +/- 2.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level).  If this situation continues, there may be an adverse impact on meeting needs in our communities.

Future posts will address strategies for addressing these and other challenges in making Loudoun a place where caring changes lives.

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