Census Local Data: Poverty Rises Sharply in Most Areas of Pennsylvania

A blog post by Michael Wood, originally published at Third and State.

Poverty has risen sharply in most areas of Pennsylvania, according to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report highlights the widespread impact of the recession and the need for policymakers to protect struggling families and invest in building a stronger economy.

Overall poverty in Pennsylvania rose by a statistically significant margin, going from 11.6% in 2007 to 13.4% in 2010. Most Pennsylvania metro areas also saw statistically significant increases in poverty from 2007 to 2010.

The number of Pennsylvanians living in deep poverty — the share of the population with incomes below half the poverty line — rose to 5.9% (726,102 people) in 2010. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains, Pennsylvania was one of 40 states to see a statistically significant rise in deep poverty.

Deep Poverty Rose in 40 States Between 2007 and 2010

In urban areas of Pennsylvania, poverty rose to 14.7% in 2010 with 1,360,202 urban residents currently living in poverty, according to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey. That is up from 12.7% in 2007, before the recession started. The picture is similarly bleak in rural Pennsylvania where 9.5% of residents (287,982 people) lived in poverty in 2010, up from 8.1% in 2007.

The number of Pennsylvania children living in poverty continued to increase last year amid the recession, according to the Census data. In 2010, 18.8% of Pennsylvania kids lived in families that fell below the poverty line, up from 15.9% in 2007. The Pennsylvania rate was lower than the national child poverty rate of 21.2%.

As poverty increased nationwide, African Americans and Latinos have been hit particularly hard by the recession, with 28.4% of African Americans and 33.5% of Latinos living in poverty in Pennsylvania last year. Just under one in 10 non-Hispanic whites in Pennsylvania lived in poverty in 2010.

Click here to view a table highlighting increasing poverty rates by Pennsylvania metropolitan/micropolitan area.

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