Life at the bottom
The poverty level in Dougherty County and surrounding areas is nearing an all time low.
According to the U.S. Census out of the 94,500 people living in Dougherty County, 29% of of them are living in poverty. That's over 27,000 people in a 56-mile radius struggling to get by.
The Census defines poverty as a family of four with a yearly income of less than $23,000.
LaKisha Bryant Bruce with United Way says these numbers are very high for our area.
Fox 31 spoke to several organizations in hopes of finding out why the poverty level was so high here but no one seemed to have a concrete answer.
Bruce said, "There are a lot of factors that go into poverty, but I really don't have a full answer as to why those issues are so compounded here in Southwest Georgia."
Major Kelly English with the Salvation Army said, "I can tell you that it really gets down to individuals. I wish there was some sort of magic bullet to fix it all but a lot of times there are so many different factors that contribute so organizations really all we can do is stand up and say listen we're here for the individual."
Fox 31 also spoke with Sharon Davis, a woman who had it "pretty easy" for 19 years; until one day when she was laid off. Because of the circumstances Davis faced, her and her family fell below the poverty line.
Davis said there were days when she wouldn't eat so that her children could. Every day for her was a constant struggle.
She was able to pull herself out of poverty after three years with the help of a program called Strive to Thrive.
But Davis is just one of the 27,000.