November 20, 2012 |
"Don't come in here with no soup, 'cause that's not Thanksgiving. " That's the edict 73-year-old Gertrude Johnson, the queen of the kitchen, issues to her fellow Faith Chapel volunteers, who prepare and serve meals for over 100 Germantown residents on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. They must take it to heart, because I didn't even see a ladle. What I saw was a feast - turkey, ham, stuffing, string beans, salads, candied yams, macaroni and cheese, rice and gravy, and apple, pumpkin, and lemon cream pies.
November 15, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The ranks of America's poor edged up last year to a high of 49.7 million, based on a new census measure that takes into account medical costs and work-related expenses. The numbers released Wednesday by the Census Bureau are part of a newly developed supplemental poverty measure. Devised a year ago, this measure provides a fuller picture of poverty that the government believes can be used to assess safety-net programs by factoring in living expenses and taxpayer-provided benefits that the official formula leaves out. Based on the revised formula, the number of poor people exceeded the 49 million, or 16 percent of the population, who were living below the poverty line in 2010.
September 26, 2012 |
By 10 a.m. Saturday, at least 75 people had lined the sidewalk outside St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Glassboro. Some held infants, some waited in wheelchairs, and some helped the elderly carry canvas bags or push small carts. They had all come for food. Asked what was left in his kitchen at home, Tim, 13, giggled. "Carrots," the Elk Township teen said. Not a favorite. "Good morning, everyone," Vivian Hanson, the archdeacon's wife, shouted as she opened the door of the Gloucester County church.
September 25, 2012
A COUPLE of weeks ago, MSNBC's Chris Hayes' program unearthed a clip of a 1965 black-and-white ad from the War on Poverty: "Today," it went, "millions of Americans are caught in circumstances beyond their control. Their children will be compelled to live lives of poverty unless the cycle is broken. " Talk about Ancient History, or at least Ancient Sociology: The latest figures show poverty in America at 15 percent in 2011, affecting 46.2 million people (the most ever), with income disparity the worst since 1929, and experts predicting it will reach levels not seen since that black and white ad. But the prevailing political "wisdom" on poverty is very different now. One argument that has gained currency is that the poor aren't really poor, because they have refrigerators and cell phones.
September 24, 2012 |
CAMDEN, LONG among the nation's poorest and most crime-ridden, is on the verge of dismantling its police department and starting anew with a force run by the county government. City officials are making the move to increase the number of officers while keeping the cost the same by averting rules negotiated with a union that city officials have seen as unwilling to compromise. Unless the union - which is skeptical of the stated motivations for the change - reaches a deal with the county, no more than 49 percent of the city's current officers could join the new force, and those who do will get pay cuts.
September 22, 2012 |
What to make of this week's dueling economic headlines? Somehow, Philadelphia is growing both more impoverished and more competitive. The Pew Philadelphia Research Initiative is out with a new study revealing that the suburbs, not the city, have raised residential taxes most rapidly over the last decade. Philadelphia hasn't achieved tax parity - not by a long shot - but the Pew report suggests strongly the city is moving in the right direction. Encouraging. And yet The Inquirer's Alfred Lubrano reports that Philadelphia's poverty rate jumped 6.4 percent in a year, solidifying Philadelphia's status as one of the nation's poorest big cities.
September 21, 2012 |
Poverty rose significantly in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties over the last two years, while the city's median household income in 2011 ranked second-worst among the nation's 25 largest cities. The findings were released Thursday in the American Community Survey One-Year Estimate, an annual sampling of three million people conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report has a higher margin of error than the census, which is a separate undertaking. "These are very bleak and disconcerting statistics," said Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Analytics, the economic-consulting firm in West Chester.
September 14, 2012 |
The number of people living in poverty in America last year remained stalled at the same record high level as in 2010, newly released government figures show. In addition, real median household income declined by 1.5 percent between 2010 and 2011 to $50,054. At the same time, the number of people without health-insurance coverage fell from 50 million to 48.6 million during the year. The figures, released Wednesday, come from a U.S. Census Bureau report. According to the report, 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty in 2011, a poverty rate of 15 percent.