Promoting Prosperity & Health All Over Arkansas
As a community health foundation with extensive experience improving local health, Arkansas Family Health Foundation has long recognized the relationship between health and economic development. The more financial security that people in our community have, the easier it is for them to eat well, exercise, and obtain all the medical care they need. We have thus promoted Arkansas’s development from the beginning, doing everything in our power to bring prosperity to our community.
Arkansas continues to struggle with economic development, and lags behind the rest of the country on key outcomes. Whereas the median American family in 2017 earned an income of roughly $55,000 per year, the median Arkansan family only makes about $42,000. Even compared to other states in the region, Arkansas is struggling. The average wage here is $19.03 per hour, compared to $19.84 in Louisiana, $20.36 in Tennessee, $20.56 in Oklahoma, $21.45 in Missouri, and $22.97 in Texas; only Mississippi had a lower average wage, at $18.41 per hour.
In many ways, Arkansas’s economic development problem is a rural problem. Urban and suburban counties like Pulaski, Washington, and Benton all have average annual wages of $40,000 or more. But in remote parts of the state, like Fulton County in the north or Polk County in the west, average wages run as low as $25,000 per year.
Low education levels are also a major issue. Just over 20 percent of Arkansans have a bachelor’s degree or more, which is a serious problem given how important college education is for economic advancement. Thus Arkansas’s economic problems are substantially the result of a lack of access to education, as well as a general lack of opportunity in rural areas.
Arkansas Family Health Foundation addresses all these economic problems within our community. Our Economic Development Center promotes local growth and helps connect people to jobs, while our Center for Education & Wellness provides scholarships and other benefits to encourage development and upward mobility. Through these efforts, we hope to eliminate any barriers between the people of Arkansas and health, prosperity, and happiness.