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ACT Rochester, RACF Report Finds Increased Poverty in Rochester

By Staff


studyACT Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation have recently released the 2016 report titled, “Special Update: Poverty and Self-Sufficiency in the Nine-County Greater Rochester Area,” which found poverty has increased in the nine-county greater Rochester region, as well as in the city of Rochester.

ACT and RACF previously released similar reports in 2013 and 2015.

The purpose of the data is to “Chronicle and summarize efforts of the greater Rochester community to understand and act upon our crisis,” the report stated.

According to the new findings, the most current poverty rate in the greater Rochester region is 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2013.

In addition, the poverty rate within the city of Rochester has increased to 33.8 percent, with one-third of the city’s residents currently living below the poverty level, up from 32.1 percent in 2013.

As a result, Rochester has continued to be the fifth poorest city in the nation, among the top 75 metropolitan areas, the study stated.

The report has also included the following, additional findings:

  • Compared to cities of the same size, Rochester now ranks first in child poverty, at 52.5 percent; second in poverty overall, at 33.8 percent; and first for families headed by women, and families headed by women with children, at 49 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
  • About 47 percent of the city’s people living in poverty are the women and children of female-headed households. The children of these families account for 81 percent of the city of Rochester’s childhood poverty.
  • The poverty rate for seniors in the region declined (from 7.8 percent to 7.1 percent), and seniors’ share of the poor population went down a full percentage point (from 8.4 percent to 7.4 percent).
  • Updated analysis by the Brookings Institution found that Rochester has the nation’s third-highest concentration of poor people living in extremely poor neighborhoods (census tracts). This ranking is the same as that cited in the first report, but Brookings reports the number of such Rochester neighborhoods has grown from 27 to 37.
  • Twenty-four percent of the region’s residents who are above the federal poverty level have incomes that are too low to be considered self-sufficient. For the city of Rochester, that estimate is about 31 percent, which, added to those living below the federal poverty level, yields the fact that about one-third of all city residents can be considered self-sufficient.
  • Finally, African Americans and Latinos are more than three times more likely to be poor than those who identify as non-Latino white. In addition, African Americans and Latinos in the Rochester region are more likely to be poor than those “in the same racial and ethnic groups elsewhere in the U.S., or in New York state,” the study said.

The report has also cited the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), which aims to reduce poverty by 50 percent in the next 15 years, and ROC the Future, an education reform initiative, as examples of local anti-poverty efforts with programs that have been aligned to combat poverty in Rochester.

Visit, or, to view the full findings from the reports.

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