New data released by the Census Bureau on September 17th show that poverty remains stubbornly high. In Pennsylvania, 13.6 percent of people were poor in 2014 – roughly the same as in 2013 when 13.7 percent were poor. The child poverty rate also remains stuck, with 19.4 percent of Pennsylvania children living in poverty in 2014 – the same as in 2013 when 19.4 percent of our children were poor. Disappointingly, our country’s economic recovery is hardly reaching Pennsylvania’s poor, and progress remains slow.
Nationally, the poverty rate fell slightly from 15.8 percent in 2013 to 15.5 percent in 2014. However, even if poverty keeps declining at the current rate nationally – an extremely optimistic estimate – it would still take more than 25 years just to cut poverty in half across the U.S. It would take even longer – nearly 35 years – to bring child poverty down to that level.