Hispanics, Blacks Have Highest Degree of Concentrated Poverty in Philadelphia

Where racial and ethnic poverty is clustered throughout the city

Hispanics, Blacks Have Highest Degree of Concentrated Poverty in Philadelphia

Many of Philadelphia’s high-poverty areas—places with poverty rates of at least 40 percent—also qualify as racially or ethnically concentrated, meaning that one group accounts for at least half of the total population.

Twenty-nine percent of the city’s poor blacks live in racially concentrated poverty in many parts of North and West Philadelphia.

Concentrated poverty areas for Hispanics are clustered in eastern North Philadelphia and the lower Northeast. Although there are fewer such areas for Hispanics than for blacks, the share of poor Hispanics who live in them (40 percent) is higher. In fact, this level of concentration of poor Hispanics is greater than in most of the other cities studied for The Pew Charitable Trusts’ November 2017 report “Philadelphia’s Poor: Who They Are, Where They Live, and How That Has Changed.”

Concentrated poverty in Philadelphia

Poor white residents are more widely dispersed. Only 5 percent live in areas of racially concentrated poverty, and those are adjacent to university campuses in North and West Philadelphia. This suggests that a large proportion of those residents are college or graduate students rather than families and individuals for whom poverty is often a long-term condition.

As noted in the map above, there are no racially concentrated high-poverty areas in Philadelphia for Asians.

For more statistics and charts on the demographics of poverty in Philadelphia, including comparisons with other cities and regions, read the full report.

Larry Eichel directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia research initiative. Octavia Howell is a researcher on the team and the study’s author.

Poverty in Philadelphia
Poverty in Philadelphia
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Poverty in Philadelphia

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The impact of Philadelphia’s high poverty rate reaches far beyond the residents who struggle on a daily basis: The high rate limits the tax revenue available to support government services, increases the demand for those services, and weighs on the economic performance of the city as well as the region. Many issues facing Philadelphia—including crime, health, and public education—are rooted in the economic status of its less well-off residents. The Pew Charitable Trusts’ research on this topic examines the demographics and geography of poverty in Philadelphia, making comparisons over time and among cities.

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Poverty in Philadelphia
Poverty in Philadelphia
Report

Philadelphia's Poor: Who they are, where they live, and how that's changed

Who they are, where they live, and how that has changed.

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Report

Poverty is one of Philadelphia’s most enduring problems. At 25.7 percent, the poverty rate is the highest among the nation’s 10 largest cities. About 400,000 residents—including roughly 37 percent of the city’s children under the age of 18—live below the federal poverty line, which is $19,337 in annual income for an adult living with two children. And nearly half of all poor residents are in deep poverty, defined as 50 percent below the federal poverty line.

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