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New Census Data Reveal a Large Jump in Poverty Since 2007

What appears to be a strong recovery from the recession is masking a very troubling trend’a growing number of DC residents and families are living below the poverty line. The number of residents living in poverty is now is 25 percent higher than just before the start of the recession according to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The majority of the increase is from residents falling into deep poverty’or living on less than $12,000 a year for a family of four.

“Not only is the recovery not reaching a large share of DC families, changes to DC’s economy are actually making it harder for many residents to maintain their foothold.” said Jenny Reed, Deputy Director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute. Image“Wages have fallen and jobs are scarce for residents without a college degree, making it harder to afford the basics like housing and food.”

The data released today come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. In the midst of rising poverty, the data also show that the income for the typical DC household has grown $6,500. This highlights how many DC households are being left out of the growing DC economy and that many may be worse off today than there were before the recession. Some of the key findings include:

  • The overall poverty rate increased to 18.9 percent, up from 16.4 percent in 2007. In 2013, 115,550 residents lived below the poverty line, or less than $24,000 for a family of four, an increase of 25 percent since 2007.
  • The median household income was $67,670 in 2013, an increase of $6,500 since 2007.
  • One in ten DC residents live on less than half the poverty line, or $12,000. This increase in deep poverty accounts for two-thirds of the increase in the overall poverty increase since 2007.
  • In 2013, approximately 29 percent of Black residents, 13 percent of Latino residents and 8 percent of White, non-Hispanic residents lived below poverty.
  • White, non-Hispanic residents are the only group to since incomes rise since 2007. In 2013, median income for White, non-Hispanic residents was $112,230, an increase of $8,230 since 2007. Black residents had a median income of $39,700 and Latino residents had a median income of$52,200 in 2013, neither of which have grown since 2007.

DCFPI will have a more complete analysis of the findings later today.