The State of Philadelphians Living in Poverty, 2019

The State of Philadelphians Living in Poverty, 2019

Overview

Nearly 400,000 Philadelphia residents—roughly 26 percent of the city’s population—lived below the poverty line in 2017. And that percentage, which is among the highest for any American city, has not changed substantially in recent years, even as the national rate has fallen.

As highlighted in Pew’s 2018 report “Philadelphia’s Poor: Experiences From Below the Poverty Line,” this is about more than money. It affects health outcomes, employment prospects, exposure to crime, and access to quality schools.

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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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Philadelphia’s Poor: Experiences From Below the Poverty Line

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In this report, The Pew Charitable Trusts examines the attitudes and personal experiences of poor Philadelphians, exploring several key aspects of life that are affected by, and potentially helping to perpetuate, poverty— including health outcomes, employment prospects, exposure to crime, and access to quality schools.

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

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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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