An Indiana University study chronicles the sometimes overlooked pockets of poverty in rural America with ratings that go deeper than traditional government measures such as unemployment rates and food stamp usage. What it finds is greater needs in some areas and a rising rate of hard times in Arkansas.

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Arkansas now has the third highest index rating in the country, up from fourth the previous year and sixth the year before that.

The index uses Salvation Army supplied data on meals, groceries, energy, medical, clothing, housing and furniture provided. Some figures are skewed over time by disasters — a major hurricane, for example. But the trend line in Arkansas the last few years isn’t good.

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