Poverty Rises Sharply in PA and the Nation
As the recession took its toll last year, more Pennsylvanians and Americans fell into poverty, saw their incomes decline and joined the ranks of the uninsured, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau released the results of two annual surveys this month detailing poverty rates at the national, state and local levels. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has analyses of the two surveys.
Current Population Survey: National Data
As this chart shows, recessions typically drive up poverty levels, and the Great Recession has been no exception.
Click here to enlarge chart
According to the Current Population Survey (CPS) released on September 13, the national poverty rate increased to 15.1% in 2010, the highest level since 1993, with a record-breaking 46.2 million American adults and children living in poverty. Median household income also declined, and the number of individuals without health insurance increased again, now approaching 50 million.
The CPS is most appropriate for national level data, but its sample sizes are not as reliable for state-level data. Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's full analysis of the CPS data.
American Community Survey: State and Local Data
The American Community Survey, released on September 22, provides more reliable state and local data. That survey shows that poverty rose sharply in most regions of Pennsylvania, again highlighting the widespread impact of the recession and the need for policymakers to protect struggling families and invest in building a stronger economy.
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 ACS. 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.
According to the ACS, overall poverty in Pennsylvania rose by a statistically significant margin, going from 11.6% in 2007 to 13.4% in 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, a statistically significant increase.
Most Pennsylvania metro areas also saw statistically significant increases in poverty from 2007 to 2010.
Poverty and uninsured rates have risen in most parts of PA (2007 to 2010)
|Poverty Rates (%)||2010 Uninsured Rates (in %)|
|Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas||2007||2010||Change||Total||Children (0-17)||Working Aged Adults (18-64)||Elderly (65+)|
|East Stroudsburg, PA||8.7||*||13.6||4.9||11.6||4.7||16.6||0.2|
|Johnstown, PA Metro Area||13.9||12.9||-1.0||9.1||3.2||13.9||0.0|
|New Castle, PA||14.3||16.6||2.4||11.0||6.9||15.7||0.6|
|State College, PA||15.1||*||20.9||5.8||8.6||5.5||10.4||1.3|
Note. *Poverty rate is statistically different at the 90 percent confidence level from the 2010 poverty rate.
Source. Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center calculations based on the American Community Survey 2007-2010
View more tables detailing state, metro and county level data from the ACS.