Despite having one of the nation’s top-rated welfare programs, Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation: 21.8 percent. While a national group of experts has said poverty numbers are incorrectly calculated and are too high, the fact remains that approximately 20 percent of Mississippians are not self-sufficient.
Don Taylor, former head of the state Department of Human Services, was in charge of overseeing the creation of Mississippi’s welfare reform program in the 1990s and believes poor Mississippians live in behavioral poverty more than material poverty.
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