poverty in dc
Poverty in the District of Columbia is unacceptably widespread. According to the U.S. census, the percentage of District residents living below the federal poverty line – an income of $22,314 for a family of four – rose from 17.6% in 2008 to 19.9% in 2011. This means that nearly 110,000 District residents live in poverty.
Census data show that poverty in the District is at its highest level in 3o years. The employment rate for African-American residents and residents with only a high school diploma are at the lowest levels in nearly three decades. As many as 37% of District residents are functionally illiterate and lack the skills to succeed in the workplace.
Work often does not pay enough for families to make ends meet. Food stamp participation has reached near-record levels. One-third of all working families with children in the District live below twice the federal poverty line ($44,628 per year).
Social service providers and safety net programs face increasing demand. Despite this, human services programs have received a disproportionate share of cuts in the city’s recent budgets.