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February 22, 2020

Family of four in Philly now needs $70K just to survive, study finds

The rising cost of living is rising, putting pressure on the nuclear family and single parents living in the city

Poverty Income
Income Study Family Income Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The report "2020 Overlooked and Undercounted," measured the "Self-Sufficiency Standard:" what income it takes to get by in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia's city-wide statistics showed lower incomes and more poverty than many other parts of the state.

A family of four living in Philadelphia needs to be making approximately $70k annually just to make ends meet, a study released this month based on 2019 statistics showed. 

Two parents with two school-aged children will need to make around $68,000 and those with one preschooler and one school aged child need to make around $70,000, according to findings by nonprofit Pathways PA

The report "2020 Overlooked and Undercounted," measured the "Self-Sufficiency Standard" which measures what income it takes to get by in based on where you live in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia's city-wide statistics showed lower incomes and more poverty than many other parts of the state. 

In Philadelphia, 43% of households are now bringing in income below the Self Sufficiency Standard, at an average income of $43,744. It was the lowest rate of income inadequacy in the state, according to the 2019 statistics. 

A major reason is that the cost of living for Philadelphia family rose 31% between 2010 and 2019, Marianne Bellesorte, vice president of advocacy at PathWays PA told The Inquirer. Income increased only 17% during that period. 

Pennsylvania's poverty rate is 12.2%, and Philadelphia's was 24.9%. This rate is calculated based on a "poverty threshold" which in 2019 was $25,926 in income for a household of two adults and two children, with percentages reflecting households less than around $25k. 

Income differences in the state based on race and gender were also highlighted in the report from Pathways, a nonprofit advocacy group for low wage workers.

For households of people of color, 29% of incomes were inadequate, but for white households, only 11% of the incomes were, although the majority of households below the income inadequacy line were white. As for gender, single-mothers with children had the highest rates of inadequacy, at 65% for their category.


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