This investigation was spurred by a U.S. Census Bureau report that says Tucson, with more than 1 in 5 people living in poverty, is the nation's sixth-poorest major metropolitan area.

Critics say that report, based on the 2011 American Community Survey, is flawed because it doesn't account for Tucson's unique demographics.

But crunching the data a variety of ways reveals a consistent and indisputable truth: Too many Tucsonans are poor, and children are the worst off.

Each day for the next week we'll examine a root cause of our poverty and offer solutions.

  • Day 1, Sunday: Stricter requirements mean fewer Arizonans in poverty are getting welfare.
  • Day 2, Monday: Arizona has the third-highest teen-pregnancy rate, and the teens often are from poor families.
  • Day 3, Tuesday: Low-wage jobs mean more Tucsonans are employed but still can't pay their bills.
  • Day 4, Wednesday: A lack of affordable housing here complicates efforts to create a sense of family stability.
  • Day 5, Thursday: Southern Arizona has two Indian reservations, which tend to be poorer than other areas.
  • Day 6, Friday: On any given day, thousands of Pima County children have parents in prison.
  • Day 7, Saturday: As subsidies for child care dwindle, some parents feel they're better off quitting their jobs.
  • Day 8, Sunday: Local scientists inspire young students in one of Tucson's poorest neighborhoods.

Keep up with the series at azstarnet.com/poverty and join the discussion in reader comments for each story or on the Star's Facebook page.