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Latest Census data shows an increase in Rochester poverty numbers

 Downtown Rochester skyline view.
Max Schulte
Downtown Rochester skyline view.

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows an increase in overall poverty rates and child poverty rates throughout the City of Rochester.

That’s according to information released by RMAPI,  the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and the organization ACT Rochester.

The data, which covers a five-year period from 2013 to 2017, shows the overall poverty rate rose from 32.8 to 33.1 percent.

It also indicates that:

-Rochester’s child poverty rate grew from 50.5 to 51.9 percent.

-The city’s rate of extreme poverty (below half the federal poverty line) increased from 16.3 percent to 16.8 percent.

-Rochester now ranks 3rd in overall poverty among the nation’s 75 largest metropolitan areas. Previously, the city was ranked 4th

“Poor education, racial inequities, and concentrated poverty continue to challenge our city’s families and future,” says Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of Rochester Area Community Foundation. “Together we are working to understand and reverse decades of urban decline, even as our city draws new residents in search of a better life. The most recent statistics just strengthen our commitment.”

“These results underscore the importance of a systemic approach to address the pervasive, long-standing, and deeply rooted poverty that plagues our community,” said Leonard Brock, executive director of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative.

Brock urges patience while the anti-poverty work continues.

“When you look at poverty reduction and the amount of work that’s necessary and needed to erase decades of poverty in some of the entrenched challenges that we’re still working to overcome, these are not things that are going to happen overnight,” Brock told WXXI News.

RMAPI was formed in 2015, but Brock says a lot of its work is not reflected in the latest Census data.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.