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Child poverty level in city dips; extreme poverty rises

Rochester Business Journal
December 9, 2016

Updated census data shows Rochester’s child poverty level dropped by almost a percentage point as of 2015, even as the city’s level of “extreme” poverty increased slightly.

What has not changed is the city’s designation as the fourth-poorest city in the United States; only Detroit, and Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio, are poorer. Looking only at cities of comparable size, Rochester has the highest rate of overall poverty, child poverty and “extreme” poverty, which is defined as people living with incomes below half of the federal poverty line.

Rochester’s child poverty rate decreased from 52.5 percent to 51.6 percent while the city’s rate of extreme poverty increased from 16.4 percent to 17 percent. The overall poverty rate was 33.5 percent, two points higher than Buffalo’s 31.4 percent.

The statistics were compiled by the Mayor’s Office of Innovation in partnership with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and ACT Rochester based on information gathered by the Census Bureau’s five-year American Community Survey from 2011 to 2015.

The information, which is updated regularly, will be used to guide the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, officials said

“We know that it will take more than a year to see a change in our current poverty rates. We are making great strides launching the pilot of our adult mentoring programs, changing policies and practices to help people impacted by poverty and helping our community better align to solve our challenges,” said Leonard Brock, director of RMAPI.

“These statistics are a reminder of the need for our community to remain focused and work collectively as RMAPI, the city, and other partners move to implement the first wave of pilot programs” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said.

For more details on the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, go to

Follow Anne Saunders on Twitter: @asaunders_rbj

(c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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