Morning Must Reads: Poverty Remains High in PA

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Poverty in Pennsylvania remains well above where it was before the recession started in late 2007. New data from the Census Bureau puts the state's rate at 13.8% in 2011, up from 11.6% in 2007. Poverty among children in Pennsylvania was also up, from 15.9% in 2007 to 19.2% in 2011. Pennsylvania's overall and child poverty rates are better than the U.S. rates for 2011 — 15.9% overall and 22.2% among children.

Median income in Pennsylvania, meanwhile, dropped from $52,677 in 2007 to $50,228 in 2011, according to the data. That is slightly lower than U.S. median income, which was $50,502 in 2011.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will post later today an overview of the new Census data taken from the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS includes a large sample size allowing us to determine poverty rates at the state and local level for many communities across the commonwealth.

For now, here's a roundup of some of the morning press reports on the new Census data.

Poverty rose significantly in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties over the last two years, while the city's median household income in 2011 ranked second-worst among the nation's 25 largest cities...

From 2010 to 2011, Philadelphia's poverty rate jumped from 26.7 percent to 28.4 percent.

Nearly 40 percent of city children were living in poverty in 2011, a rise of three percentage points from 2010, according to the report...

Locally, the census findings that worry antipoverty advocates most are the high rates of children's poverty. In Philadelphia, one in two children receives food from a food pantry, according to the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.

Referencing the census report, Carey Morgan, executive director of the coalition, said, "Forty percent of kids in poverty is really appalling. It's against American values.

"Kids in poverty will not be able to learn, will get sick more often, and will grow up unproductive. As taxpayers, we'll pay the price."
 

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