What Pennsylvanians Say
More than half of low-income Pennsylvanians work. Sixty-three percent of respondents were employed, self-employed, or unemployed and looking for work. Of the employed, 62 percent were employed full time.
>>The most common reason for not holding or seeking a job is caring for a loved one or child (43 percent).
Respondents listed debt (46 percent) and taxes (29 percent) as the two most common barriers to financial security. The average respondent pays $4,575 per year in taxes, about $380 per month.
Poverty in Pennsylvania occurs in urban and rural settings. In fact, four of the five counties with the highest poverty rates are rural.
>>Philadelphia has the highest concentration of poverty at nearly 23 percent, while in Forest County it is 19.6 percent. The statewide poverty rate is 12.1 percent.
Twenty-one percent of surveyed individuals knew they were eligible for government programs yet chose not to enroll.
How More Economic Freedom Can Reduce Poverty and Boost Prosperity in Pennsylvania
- Economic freedom, specifically lower government spending, strongly and consistently offers both increases in prosperity and reductions in poverty.
- States that gained economic freedom from 2010 to 2019 tend to have lower levels of poverty and higher levels of prosperity.
- In Pennsylvania specifically, a one-point improvement in the Economic Freedom of North America (EFNA) Index score over five years is associated with a 2.08 percentage point increase in employment and a $2,338 increase in per capita income.
- In Pennsylvania, a one-point improvement in the EFNA Index score over five years is associated with a decrease in poverty rates resulting in up to 176,970 fewer Pennsylvanians in poverty.