Sen. Bob Casey Campaigning for Minimum Wage Increase

Unveils a county-by-couty look at poverty in PA.

Sen. Bob Casey is campaigning for an increase to the minimum wage—and trying to persuade his perhaps-skeptical rural constituents by unveiling a county-by-county poverty chart. Will it be convincing? Maybe not.

On Tuesday, he called on Congress to focus on closing the income gap in the new year by raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and investing in early education, according to a news release.

“Income inequality is a problem that impacts all facets of our state’s economy, from middle class families to small businesses who depend on customers to thrive,” Casey said. “Congress should move quickly to vote on an increase in the minimum wage while working on a plan to invest in early education so every child has a better shot at reaching their full potential.”

According to the report that Casey’s office released after his telephone news conference, Chester County ranks third among the suburban counties in its 2012 poverty rate, at 7.4 percent. The figures were gleaned from the U.S. Census and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report.

Bucks County had the lowest rate, with 5.8 percent. Montgomery County came in at 6.5 percent and Delaware County at 11.3 percent. All four suburban counties had vastly better poverty figures than Philadelphia, at 26.2 percent. Nearby Lancaster County and Berks County had rates of 11.5 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively, while the state’s rate was 13.3.