Small children seated on the floor in front of a teacher.
woodleywonderworks / Flickr

North Carolina ranks 34th in the country for child well-being. That's according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The annual report evaluates states on economic prosperity, health, education, and family and community. It found one-in-four children in North Carolina lives in poverty.

Tulane Publications via Flickr/Creative Commons

A baby born in Orange County can expect to live to be nearly 82 years old. That's according to health data analysis by the independent children's advocacy group NC Child.

But Research and Data Director Laila Bell says children in poorer counties aren't likely to live as long. A newborn in Rockingham County is unlikely to reach the age of 76.

Joslin Simms, the mother of Ray Simms who was murdered in May of 2005.
Justin Cook / justincookphoto.com/

Durham is a city on the rise. And over the past decade or so, it has established a reputation for its change and rapid development. 

But not far away from the city's booming downtown and repurposed factories  is a part of the city that is dealing with high crime rates and the losses of their young men due to violence and prison.

It is a tale of two cities: one prosperous and open to tourist and transplants, the other isolated and dealing with violence and drugs.

In addition to taking on education initiatives, PAGE encourages girls to produce photography and digital stories.
Madison County Photo Exhibition / carolinapage.org

Rural communities in western North Carolina are in the midst of an economic shift.

The rise and fall of the family farm means places like Madison County are looking for new ways to support themselves. The answer could be in the tech industry. But technology businesses rely on a steady stream of well-educated workers. 

A panel discussion tonight at Duke University, "Rethinking Appalachia," examines ways to develop a high-tech workforce in rural Appalachia.

Photo of Former State of Things Producer Meghan Modafferi and Producer Anita Rao try out sitting on the other side of the glass in "host attire" on Meghan's last day.
Jorge Valencia

As 2014 comes to a close, The State of Things producer Anita Rao takes a look back at some of her favorite segments from the show this year. 

Sitting on the steps with a child soon after I arrived in Durham to work as a community organizer for Operation Breakthrough.

Dr. Howard Fuller has dedicated much of his life’s work to eradicating poverty. His work began in 1965, when he went to Durham to work as a community organizer and helped young African-American students and youth find a voice for themselves in organizations aimed toward ending poverty. 


When Linda Tirado responded to an online forum question: "Why do poor people do things that seem so self destructive?" she had no idea her response would go viral. 

Her essay, Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or poverty thoughts sparked national conversation and backlash. At the time, Tirado was a young mother of two, working two part-time jobs. She had recently returned to college. The essay detailed what her life was like, and how she and her family had reacted to the pressures of being poor.

Here is an excerpt from the essay:

Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6AM, go to school (I have a full courseload, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 1230AM, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I'm in bed by 3. This isn't every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations. I use that time to clean the house and soothe Mr. Martini and see the kids for longer than an hour and catch up on schoolwork. Those nights I'm in bed by midnight, but if I go to bed too early I won't be able to stay up the other nights because I'll f*** my pattern up, and I drive an hour home from Job 2 so I can't afford to be sleepy. I never get a day off from work unless I am fairly sick. It doesn't leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing and the next. Planning isn't in the mix.

This essay later inspired a book challenging preconceptions about the lives of the millions of Americans living below the poverty level. 

Winston-Salem City Government has extended benefits to same-sex couples who were married in other states.


The Winston-Salem city government is now offering benefits to same-sex partners who are married. 

About 200 people use services at the IRC (Interactive Resource Center) each weekday.

Glimpses of poverty can be seen across North Carolina on a daily basis. From median strips to emergency rooms and school cafeterias to unemployment offices, no communities are immune.

In Greensboro many people in need use the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) for daily access to computers, showers, and a sense of community. More than 200 people visit the center each weekday.

"I went from $80,000 a year to, I'm lucky if I make $80 a month," says Earl Zayack, a slender man with brown hair and a salty goatee.

"So it was a huge, humbling experience for me."