Today the United States Census Bureau released data from the American Community Survey, which gives local information on population poverty rates. The data shows that, unfortunately, the economic situation for people in Philadelphia is not getting better.
In Philadelphia, 28.4% of people are living in poverty, an increase of 1.7% from last year. In addition, 39.3% of children under 18 are living in households below the federal poverty line. This figure represents an increase of almost 3% since last year.
“Living in poverty has lifelong implications for children,” said Dr. Mariana Chilton, an associate professor and director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University’s School of Public Health. “Children living in poverty are more likely to be food insecure and therefore more likely to have health problems that lead to hospitalization and developmental delay.”
Philadelphia is also lagging far behind the national median income. The national median household income was $50,502, whereas Philadelphian workers have a median household income of only $34,207, a shortfall of over $16,000. Further, the 2011 federal poverty line for a family of four is $23,021. A median household income so close to the federal poverty line shows that many in Philadelphia are not earning enough wages to keep their families out of poverty.
Philadelphia is not the only area that saw an increase in poverty last year, as each surrounding county also saw an increase. The percentage of people living in poverty in Chester County increased from 6.2% in 2010 to 7.2% in 2011. Delaware County and Montgomery County also saw increases in the percentages of persons living in poverty, from 9.7% to 9.9% and 5.5% to 6.4%, respectively.