Ala. poverty rate drop fastest in U.S.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - U.S. Census figures show that more people moved above the poverty line in Alabama than in any state in the country.

But advocates for the poor say many in Alabama continue to suffer the effects of poverty and that the census numbers were gathered in 2008 before the worst effects of the recession hit the state.

The census figures reported Wednesday by the Press-Register in Mobile show that the number of people below the poverty line fell by 47,000 to 712,835. That was the largest numerical drop of any state.

Alabama's poverty rate fell 1.2 points to 15.7 percent. Alabama is tied with South Carolina with the 10th highest rate of poverty in the country.

Nationwide, the poverty rate rose to 13.2 percent, an 11-year high.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)