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Report: Philly's Poverty Problem Isn't Going Away

Poverty rates in this city keep growing

In recent weeks, plenty of reports and rankings have been released touting Philadelphia's growth, affordability, and development boom.

Yet there's one major issue that's been somewhat ignored amid all of the praise: Philly's poverty problem.

Among the 10 largest U.S. cities, Philadelphia has the highest deep poverty rate of 12.3 percent—that's about double the nation's rate. The city's overall poverty rate hovers around 26 percent.

And a recent report by City Observatory reveals that concentrated poverty in Philly and across the country is spreading. Neighborhoods with a poverty rate double the national average in 1970 stayed poor 75 percent of the time through 2010.

Consider these numbers in North Philly, which was identified as a chronic high poverty area. In 1970, 39 percent lived in poverty. In 2010, population did increase, but poverty rates jumped to 57 percent.

Point Breeze is another poverty-stricken area. Only there, numbers revealed that from 1970 to 2010, population decreased, while poverty rates increased by nearly 20 percent.

The Philly numbers are stark, but concentrated poverty is a problem across the country. What's worse, the report found that the likelihood of a poor neighborhood coming out of poverty is just one in 20.

You can see how poverty rates in your neighborhood have changed since 1970 with City Observatory's interactive map.