Since the recession took hold of the economy, poverty in the District has been on steady climb upward. New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that nearly one in five DC residents lived below the poverty line in 2010, or on less than $22,314 for a family of four. Since 2007, the final year before the recession hit, an additional 17,500 DC residents have fallen into poverty. Yet, the same data also show that citywide median income has risen over the same time period. In fact, median income rose from $57,100 in 2007 to $60,900 in 2010 (all figures are adjusted for inflation to equal 2010 dollars). This simultaneous rise in poverty and incomes indicates that some groups in DC have been able to escape the worst effects of the recession better than others.
It also appears that poverty may rise even further in 2011 and could remain high for some time. Leading indicators of poverty changes, like employment and food stamp participation, are pointing to a likely rise in the number of families in poverty this year. This is consistent with research showing that poverty takes a long time to recover even after a recession has ended, often not falling for at least one full year after unemployment has declined. Given the negative consequences associated with poverty, the District should ensure resources are available to help move families out of poverty.
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