May 28, 2013
Remember when moving to the suburbs meant you were fulfilling the American dream of a life of plenty in greener pastures? That's less true today, with poverty showing up in communities where many Americans would least expect it. The Philadelphia suburbs, on both sides of the Delaware River, have become home to a growing segment of the region's poor. That disturbing national trend is being seen in communities across the country. The population of poor residents in America's suburbs jumped 64 percent between 2000 and 2010, which was twice as fast as the urban rate, according to a new book recently released by the Brookings Institution.
May 21, 2013 |
Say poverty in the Philadelphia area, and it conjures images of North Philadelphia or Kensington, not the suburbs. But the suburbs on both sides of the Delaware River are becoming steadily poorer, part of a national trend that confounds long-held beliefs that life is always better in greener pastures beyond urban limits. "People have this cliched notion of poverty being based in the inner city," said Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, which has offices in Trenton and North Jersey.
April 12, 2013 |
There is a specter haunting Philadelphia; it is the specter of job loss. In each economic cycle in the last four decades, the number of jobs attained at the top of expansion was less than what we had at the prior peak. There are 264,240 fewer jobs today than in 1970 - a decline of 25 percent. At the rate we are going, there will be 60,000 fewer opportunities for Philadelphians by 2023. Mayor Nutter's Five-Year Plan put it out there for all to see: We have the second-highest poverty rate among the 20 largest American cities, behind only Detroit.
March 20, 2013 |
Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty - people with incomes below half of the poverty line - of any of the nation's 10 most populous cities. The annual salary for a single person at half the poverty line is around $5,700; for a family of four, it's around $11,700. Philadelphia's deep-poverty rate is 12.9 percent, or around 200,000 people. Phoenix, Chicago, and Dallas are the nearest to Philadelphia, with deep-poverty rates of more than 10 percent. The numbers come from an examination of the 2009 through 2011 three-year estimate of the U.S. Census American Community Survey by The Inquirer and Temple University sociologist David Elesh.
January 16, 2013 |
In a new effort to battle poverty, Mayor Nutter is creating a cabinet-level office that will oversee city efforts to deal with hunger, homelessness, job development, and other issues. Nutter was expected to announce the formation of the Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity on Tuesday. It will be headed by Eva Gladstein, 60, deputy executive director of the Planning Commission. Gladstein was executive director of the Philadelphia Empowerment Zone from 1998 to 2007.
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.