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Economy & Business
00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f771360000Keystone Crossroads: Rust or Revival? explores the urgent challenges pressing upon Pennsylvania's cities. Four public media newsrooms are collaborating to report in depth on the root causes of our state's urban crisis -- and on possible solutions. Keystone Crossroads offers reports on radio, web, social media, television and newspapers, and through public events.Our partner stations are WHYY in Philadelphia, WPSU in State College and witf in Harrisburg. Read all of the partner stories here.Pittsburgh’s WQED joins the collaboration as an associate partner. Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

What Household Income Distribution Looks Like In Pennsylvania Cities

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Lindsay Lazarski
/
WHYY
Two women walk down a street in Pittsburgh's historic Mexican War Streets neighborhood.

Pennsylvania cities have more low-income households and fewer higher-earning households than the national average.

The Brookings Institution, analyzing data from the American Community Survey, broke up cities’ populations by what quintile of the national income distribution households fell into. The Brookings analysis found that “collectively, the smaller cities mirror the national income distribution almost exactly. In large cities, by contrast, both low-income (bottom 20 percent) and very high-income (top 5 percent) households are overrepresented.”

Aside from Philadelphia, most cities in the Commonwealth are small, yet they bucked that trend: in every city the lower income brackets are overrepresented. In Reading, the lowest income bracket contains more than double the national percentage of low income households. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising considering that many Pennsylvania cities are considered distressed

Read more of this report at the website of our partner Keystone Crossroads.