Oklahoma's Working Poor Face Reality Living Below Poverty Line

Tuesday, September 13th 2011, 11:49 pm
By: News 9

Hovannah Johnson, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- More than 46 million Americans are living in poverty, that's the latest number from the U.S Census Bureau. According to government statistics, a family of four is considered to be in poverty if they have an annual income of $22,350.

Poverty is defined by family size and income. In Oklahoma one out of six families lives below the poverty line.

It's a reality the working poor are haunted by, and local lawmakers say it's something that will persist in our state for at least another decade without job creation.

Representative Richard Morrissette has constituents who fall into this statistic but says without manufacturing jobs and creative lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the trend will only worsen.

Amber and Mason Gaylor are one of thousands of Oklahoma families who are considered working poor.

"It would be nice to actually be able to buy things we need, just stuff people take for granted like laundry soap. Fast food like Taco Bell and McDonalds dollar menu that's a luxury," Mason Gaylor said.

Mason's day job is looking for another part time job. At night he's a janitor where and earns $7.50 an hour. His wife is looking for a job but the couple said they cannot afford daycare for their four-month-old.

The Census report issued Tuesday says 16% of Oklahoma's family live just like the Gaylord's, well below the poverty line.

"It doesn't surprise me in the least. I am surprised they (the numbers) aren't worse. We have lost those middle class jobs where people can go and raise a family on blue collar income," Rep. Morrissette said.