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Over 19,500 of Austin's Poor are College Students

News flash: Lots of college students are poor.

While this probably seems like a no-brainer, a new study from the U.S. Census Bureau demonstrates how great of an impact students can have on local communities' poverty levels.

19.6 percent of Austin’s 782,000 people are below the poverty line. But exclude college students who live in off-campus housing, and Austin poverty rates fall by 2.5 percent. That drop represents roughly 19,500 broke college students.

While 15.2 percent of the total U.S. population falls below the poverty line, “more than half (51.8 percent) of students living off-campus and not living with relatives had income below the poverty level,” according to data from the Census’ American Community Survey. Exclude poor students, and the overall poverty rate falls to 14.5 percent.

In other parts of Texas, students’ impact is far greater. In San Marcos 36.4 of all residents are considered to be in poverty – but remove off-campus students and that number plummets to 20.4 percent. College Station leads all Texas cities with a 20.7 percent drop. Athens, Ohio, leads all U.S. cities in students’ impact with an astounding 31.3 drop.

Texas is one of the biggest states for students. An entire third of all students enrolled in college reside in just four states:

  • California (3.1 million)
  • Texas (1.7 million)
  • Florida (1.3 million)
  • New York (1.5 million)
Roy is a second year journalism professional track graduate student at the University of Texas.
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