25 percent of Pa. households below poverty standard

It’s a sobering statistic.

One fourth of the households in Pennsylvania are not earning enough to meet basic needs, according to a new study from the nonprofit Pathways PA.

Pathways found the number of Pennsylvanians below the “self-sufficiency” standard has grown since a previous  study in 2009, which drew on data from 2007. The new study is based on 2010 data, collected nationally.

Pathways’ Senior Director of Policy, Marianne Bellesorte says four in five households that do fall short have at least one person with a job.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“This isn’t even a matter of someone who has no access to work,” she explains. “It’s someone who is working but isn’t making enough to feed their family.”

“We need to look at is how much they’re working and what their wages and benefits look like,” she said.

Families below the self-sufficiency standard in Pennsylvania are disproportionately minority and female-led. The study found 55 percent of Latinos do not make enough to meet their basic needs, versus 20 percent of white households.

The report recommends the basics: investments in education, as well as teaching women and minorities to advocate for equal pay.


Editor’s note:  This article has been revised  with the correct spelling of Marianne Bellesorte’s last name.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal