Reading is Poorest City in U.S.

Just released Census Bureau figures show Pennsylvania’s poverty rate has climbed, rising to 13.4 percent in 2010 compared to 11.6 percent in 2007, when the recession first hit. Historical data show that poverty has been rising in Pennylvania since 2000.

Pennsylvania is also home to the poorest major city in America, when measured by the share of population living in poverty: 41 percent of Reading’s residents are poor. Flint, Mich. and Bloomington, Ind. were second and third.

The census data tracked how seven major cities in the Keystone State are doing: Disturbingly, a fifth or more of residents in our biggest cities live in poverty. The economic downturn is surely to blame, but Pennsylvania’s high taxes and onerous regulations make matters worse by inhibiting recovery and job creation, hurting the state’s poor.

City Population No. Below Poverty % Below Poverty
Allentown 113,396 30,652 27.0%
Bethlehem 68,085 14,216 20.9%
Erie 97,660 29,484 30.2%
Philadelphia 1,487,471 397,083 26.7%
Pittsburgh 281,725 62,909 22.3%
Reading 86,087 35,517 41.3%
Scranton 72,541 15,335 21.1%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months, 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates–Pennsylvania.”