Are College Students Inflating Philly’s Poverty Rate?
A census report, quietly released in May, revealed some interesting statistics about student populations and urban poverty rates. The report found that, overall, Philadelphia’s official poverty rate was 1.4 percent higher than it would otherwise have been due to the inclusion of student residents. Statewide, the impact is slightly less: the poverty rate goes up 0.9 percent with the inclusion of these students. In Pennsylvania, 58.1 of college students not living with relatives are living below the poverty line.
Yes, but. As CP points out, “family assets that buoy many college students are difficult to quantify.” In other words, we shouldn’t pretend that the Drexel student eating ramen—who will be telling rueful stories about that experience over wine and brie in about five years—is having the same experience as the unemployed family who can’t see a time they’ll ever stop eating ramen.