Gender, Race, Age of the Poor in Philadelphia, PA and U.S

            The level of poverty in Philadelphia and the United States is very high.  A family of four bringing home a pre tax income below $22,000.00 is considered living below the federal poverty line. 14.3% of the nation lives below the poverty line. That is one in every seven citizens.  The exact number of people living in poverty in the United States in 2009 was 43.6 million people.  Philadelphia is rated as the poorest out of the nation’s ten largest cities.  25% of Philadelphians live in poverty.  People of all ages are facing poverty daily.

            For impoverished males, the most common age range is 18 to 24 years.  The next common age range of males in poverty is 5 years or younger.  In general, males under 24 years have a higher rate of poverty than men over the age of 25.  This is generally due to lack of advanced education and lower pay scale jobs. The largest increase in poverty in 2009 was in the age range of 18 to 34. This is due to the economy and the lack of jobs, training and education.

            For impoverished females, the most common age is 15 years of age.  The next common age range is 18-24.  Again in general, females under the age of 25 have a higher rate of poverty than females over that age.  Many young women are unwed mothers, uneducated and unable to find sufficient employment.

          In Philadelphia, the number of children under the age of 18 who live in poverty is one out of every three.  Many families are living in poverty. In fact, 26% of all families in Philadelphia are impoverished. 

          Many of the elderly in Philadelphia are also poor.  20% of Philadelphia’s seniors are living in poverty.  Many are trying to exist on meager pensions or social security.  Many are raising their grandchildren. 

           The city of Philadelphia has a higher percentage of people living in poverty than the national percentages across all age groups.  Nationally, one in seven children live in poverty.  Many of these children are being raised by single mothers.  Nationally, 9% of seniors live in poverty.  Philadelphia’s rate of poor seniors is double the national rate.  More uneducated working adults in Philadelphia live in poverty than the national average. 

            Since the recession of December, 2007, poverty levels have been on the rise across all age groups.  There are more single parent families.  There are more people struggling to find employment.  The cost of living increases every year. Many children who are raised in poverty know of no other way of life or how to escape it.  Poverty can be generational. It is a sad fact that our city, Philadelphia, has some of the highest levels of poverty in the nation.  Young and old, there are many Philadelphians in need.