Poverty in Philadelphia

Poverty in Philadelphia

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. 

report
Poverty in Philadelphia
Poverty in Philadelphia
Report

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

How Geography Helps Explain Poverty in Philadelphia

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Opinion

There are a number of ways to look at Philadelphia’s 25.7 percent poverty rate, the highest among the nation’s 10 largest cities. You can examine it, for instance, by age, gender, race, and ethnicity. Alternately, you can study the geography of poverty, which helps explain why the city’s rate is as high as it is.

Poverty in Philadelphia
Poverty in Philadelphia
Press Releases & Statements

Pew Report Examines Demographics of Poverty in Philadelphia

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Press Releases & Statements

PHILADELPHIA—A new analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts finds that Philadelphia’s impoverished residents are increasingly Hispanic, of working age, and geographically spread across much of the city, reflecting the changing makeup of Philadelphia as a whole. It also shows that one reason for the city’s high poverty rate of 25.7 percent is the extraordinary degree to which the region’s poor are concentrated in the city, more so than in many other metropolitan areas.

Poverty in Philadelphia
Poverty in Philadelphia
Article

Philadelphia’s Poverty Rates Explained in Five Charts

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Article

Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate among the nation’s 10 most populous cities, as well as the highest percentage of residents living in deep poverty, which is defined by the Census Bureau as half the poverty income threshold. Philadelphia’s deep poverty rate has generally been slightly less than half its overall rate; in 2016, it was 12.3 percent. For a family consisting of one adult and two children, the poverty threshold was $19,337 in 2016, and the deep poverty threshold was $9,669.

Poverty in Philadelphia
Poverty in Philadelphia
Article

Comparing Philadelphia's Geography of Poverty With Other Regions

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Article

In the Philadelphia metropolitan region, the poor are more highly concentrated in the city itself than is the case in nearly all of the other regions studied in our November 2017 report, “Philadelphia’s Poor: Who They Are, Where They Live, and How That Has Changed.”

Additional Resources

Poverty in Philadelphia
Poverty in Philadelphia
Podcast

Poverty and Connecting to Opportunity in Philadelphia

Episode 17

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Podcast

Poverty is one of Philadelphia’s most enduring problems. The city’s poverty rate is 25.7 percent—the highest among the United States’ 10 largest cities. That means that about 400,000 city residents, including more than a third of the city’s children, live in a household with an annual income of $19,337 or less. In this episode, host Dan LeDuc talks with Larry Eichel, director of Pew’s Philadelphia research initiative, about the story behind these numbers. We also hear from Matt Bergheiser of University City District about its West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, a program that provides job training to local residents and helps match them with employers. To learn more, visit pewtrusts.org/afterthefact.