In 2000 the poverty level of Missouri was around 8 percent, less than the U.S. national average of 11.3 percent. However, since then the number of people living in poverty grew 3.5 times faster than the national average and more than doubled to around 16.2 percent in 2014. There are 417,151 Missouri residents living in extreme poverty, which means that these people are living on 50 percent or less of the federal poverty income guidelines.

Missouri’s economic difficulties began before the Great Recession of 2007 through 2008 that resulted in a national job loss and economic meltdown. The state’s government has lowered taxes to attract good jobs as a means of improving the state’s economy. Despite these efforts, Missouri has been losing well-paying jobs at an ...

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