A majority of children in three upstate cities lived in poverty in 2011, with Rochester ranking seventh in the nation for its percentage of poor children, a review by Gannett’s Albany Bureau of U.S. Census data showed.
Rochester had 54 percent of its youth under age 18 living in poverty, putting it in a class with Flint, Mich.; Camden, N.J.; Reading, Pa; and Cleveland. Gary, Ind., led the nation in childhood poverty at 69 percent, the data showed.
Among the top 13 large cities for childhood poverty, Ohio had four and New York had three — the most of any other state. Syracuse ranked 10th with 53 percent of its children in poverty, the Census data showed, and Schenectady ranked 13 at 51 percent.
From today’s article:
Other large New York cities saw major increase in the number of people and children living in poverty between 2010 and 2011. The poverty level in Yonkers, the state’s fourth largest city, grew the most — a remarkable 44 percent, from 24,030 residents to 34,601 residents, representing about 18 percent of the city’s total population.
Poverty “becomes a death spiral for the cities,” said Mark Dunlea, executive director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS. He said poverty strains government services and leads people to move to the suburbs.
In 2010, Rochester ranked 14th in the nation, with a childhood poverty rate of 51 percent. The number of children living below the poverty level in the city grew from 26,151 children in 2010 to 27,028 children in 2011. Rochester is state’s third largest city with about 200,000 people.
“These numbers do not reflect the way Rochester wants to talk about itself. But there are some very, very serious problems here,” said James Norman, president of Action For A Better Community, a city organization that helps low-income families.
Poverty is another battle upstate cities are facing amid declining populations and troubled government finances.
In Schenectady, a city of about 63,000, the percent of people living in poverty rose 34 percent between 2010 and 2011. The data generally included only cities with populations more than 65,000 people.