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Philadelphia Leads in ‘Deep’ Poverty Among Big Cities

(File photo.  Credit: KYW's Ed Fischer)

(File photo. Credit: KYW’s Ed Fischer)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An analysis of Philadelphia census data shows the city has not only the highest poverty rate of any big city, it has the highest rate of deep poverty — that is, people living on less than half the income at the poverty line.

The analysis by the Philadelphia Inquirer and a Temple University sociologist may be a surprise to no one.  As anti-poverty activist Sister Mary Scullion observes, the signs are everywhere.

“We are all aware of homelessness, hunger, the violence that’s associated with poverty,” she said today.  “The symptoms are well known in our community.”

But Scullion says there is also hope.

“We actually can end homelessness, we can end hunger, we can do better in educating our children,” she says, “but we do have to tackle poverty as an underlying and basic issue.”

Mayor Nutter agrees.  He says the city has made a number of changes in services to address poverty but, he notes, it’s a complicated issue.

“Cities are hard-pressed to fight this by ourselves, and we really need partnerships from the state and federal governments as well,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

 

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