Number of states in which the majority of public school children were low income in 2011, meaning they were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches: 17

Of those 17 states, number in the South*: 12

Percent of public school children in the South who are low income: 53

Percent in the West, Midwest and Northeast, respectively: 50, 44, 40

Percent in the United States overall: 48

Percentage points by which that number increased since 2001: 10

Percent of public school children who are low income in Mississippi, the state with the highest proportion: 71

Percent in Louisiana, the state with the third-highest proportion after second-place New Mexico: 66

Percent of public school children who are low income in Virginia, the only Southern state below 50 percent: 37

Year in which low income children became the majority of students in the South's public schools: 2007

Portion by which the number of public school children who are low income grew in the South from 2001 to 2011: 1/3

Portion of African-American and Hispanic students who attend U.S. public schools where a majority of their classmates are low income: 2/3

Percent of public school children in U.S. cities, towns, rural areas and suburbs, respectively, who are low income: 60, 52, 44, 40

In Mississippi cities, towns, rural areas and suburbs: 83, 78, 71, 57

Year since there has been consistent growth in the rate of low income students in most U.S. states and regions: 1989

From 2001 to 2011, percent by which the numbers of low income students in U.S. public schools grew: 32

Percent by which the U.S. average per-pupil expenditure for public education increased between 2001 and 2011: 14

Percent by which it increased in the South: 12

Average amount public schools spend annually per student in the Northeast: $16,045

In the South: $9,300

Gap in scores between the South's lower and higher income students on the National Assessment for Educational Progress' fourth-grade reading test: 26

Year since that gap has held steady: 2003

Difference in that gap between public and private schools, which are often cited as a solution to the problem of low income student underachievement by school choice proponents: 0

* Facing South counts 13 states as part of the South: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

(All of the figures in this index come from "A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South and Nation" by the Southern Education Foundation, October 2013.)