(AP) - U.S. Census figures bear out the anecdotal evidence of children in poverty that Tennessee schools have been seeing.

The percentage of children from economically impoverished families rose 1.8 percent in Tennessee from 2009 to 2010 - two-tenths of a percent more than the national average increase.

That means an estimated 27,215 more children in the state statistically slid into poverty last year.

At the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies in Chattanooga, interim CEO Rick Mathis told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the South is caught between decreases in median income and higher rates of poverty.

At Maplewood High School in Nashville, the family resource center director, Joy Pillow-Jones, told The Tennessean that the plight of students is as bad as she has ever seen. Maplewood served a Thanksgiving Day meal.

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