The city of Philadelphia has declined over the last half century from its status as a major manufacturing hub to one of the poorest cities in the United States. In 1953, the number of workers in the manufacturing sector peaked at nearly half of the city’s workforce, 359,000 people.
Manufacturing Jobs Decrease
Today only 21,100 people hold manufacturing jobs and that number has continued to fall, down 34% over the past ten years.
Almost a third of the city’s residents, 32% do not participate in the workforce, the second highest rate in the nation.
The unemployment rate is consistently above the national average, and nearly 1 in 2 Philadelphians live at or near the poverty line. Median income in the city has fallen from $40,008 to $36,836 since the beginning of the great recession in 2007.
More than 1 in 4 Philadelphians live below the poverty line ($24,000 a year for a family of 4) and of these households, half are in “deep poverty” which is defined as a household income of less than $12,000.
Impoverished Big City
Philadelphia’s deep poverty rate is the highest of any big city in the country.
The Poverty Summit Itinerary
Location: Philadelphia Community College (1700 Spring Garden St. | Day sessions held at Winnett Building, Evening sessions held at Bonnell Building)
Please note: You must have your ID to enter both building. Lunch and Dinner will not be served at the Summit.
Faces of Poverty Presentation
Finding Philly Solutions to Philly Poverty.
At the same time, there are signs that Philadelphia is recovering from the recession. The median home price has gone up 12% in the last four years, and in some neighborhoods in Center City and near Temple University, home prices have risen as much as 56%. The leisure and hospitality sector is the fastest growing industry in the city—it has grown 23% in the past ten years. But the gains from this recovery are unevenly distributed. The typical annual income for a person working full time in food service or cleaning professions falls between $19,120 and $24,000. In hospitality industry, 89% of the workers employed as maids or housekeepers live near or below the poverty line and nearly half (44%) are African American women.