Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Poverty Rates Up in Allegheny County and the Nation Wrap.mp3

Poverty increased in Allegheny County from 12% in 2010 to 13.6% in 2011, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  That jump in the number of people below the poverty line is larger than the increase nationwide but the local figures remain below the national rate which rose from 15.3% to 15.9%.  

United Way of Allegheny County President Bob Nelkin said the numbers are no surprise because community agencies have been hearing from more people in need—many for the first time ever.  75% of calls to the United Way’s new 211 hotline are for basic needs:  to avoid utility shutoff, eviction or foreclosure, and for clothing, food and transportation.

"There's good data that says if you don't get re-employed in the first couple of months , you have a one in ten chance a year later of being employed," said Nelkin.  "Peopple are taking jobs that pay less and they're digging into whatever savings they have."

Nelkin said community safety net agencies are also struggling because more people need them, charitable contributions are down because of the recession, and government-supported services are down because of budget constraints.