PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney issued the following statement on the annual poverty data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today. Philadelphia’s 2019 poverty rate was 23.3 percent, down from 24.5 percent in 2018 and from 25.7 percent in 2016, and the lowest since the 2008 recession for the second year running. Philadelphia’s 2019 median income also rose to $47,474, up from $46,116 in 2018.
“This data gives me confidence in the strategies we adopted during the first term of our administration to tackle the systemic challenge of poverty in Philadelphia. However, we know that the recent public health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is not captured in this data, which only reflects 2019.
“Today, because of the pandemic, tens of thousands of our residents’ lives have become more precarious, as unemployment has increased and businesses have been forced to close. We know this is especially true for communities of color who have long been disproportionately impacted by poverty and other systemic inequities. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we take action to help Philadelphians, especially Black and Hispanic residents, meet their basic needs in the short term, and improve their financial stability and economic mobility in the medium and long term.
“We’ve taken immediate action by providing food boxes, rental assistance, homeless prevention services, direct aid through our worker relief fund, and grants and loans for small businesses. We’ve also prioritized support for measures to increase income and combat the root causes of poverty—making community college free for eligible students through the Catto Scholarship, and maintaining funds for PHLpreK despite the drop in City revenue. With a strong public health response focused on racial equity and an inclusive economic recovery plan just released, we can ensure that Philadelphia will recover stronger than ever.
“Like the coronavirus pandemic, systemic poverty is too complex for one body to solve alone; it rests with all of us and requires shared bold solutions. The events of 2020 have clearly demonstrated the need to work together across sectors – all levels of government, business, philanthropy, nonprofit, education, labor, and residents – to help our most vulnerable neighbors and build a stronger city for us all. With the devastating effects of COVID-19 and the resulting economic challenges poised to continue impacting our city for the foreseeable future, the need for action is even more urgent. I will continue to urge the Federal government to pass a new stimulus package that provides direct aid to individuals, businesses as well as local governments like Philadelphia.”
More on Mayor Kenney’s priorities vision for moving Philadelphia forward through the remainder of his second term is available here.