Bittersweet Census news for Philly: Higher incomes, lower poverty before COVID-19 hit

Philadelphia City Hall.
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New U.S. Census figures released Thursday show the city was improving incomes and reducing poverty last year — before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. City officials doubt those trends will hold through this year.

It is bittersweet for the mayor’s policy director Maari Porter to see the city’s poverty rate down from 24.5% to 23.3%.

"We’re pleased to see our strategies as a city to reduce poverty during the first term were working for Philadelphians, but we also know the reality is that the coronavirus has put the most vulnerable Philadelphians and people of color at greater risk," Porter said.

Porter says the administration now is focused on stabilizing those vulnerable groups with food distribution, small-business grants, a worker relief fund, a nonprofit fund and rent subsidies. In fact, the city has doubled the amount of the rent subsidy. It will now cover $1,500 a month through the end of the year.