Some Facts About Poverty in Pennsylvania from 2018

  • Nearly 1.52 million Pennsylvanians—12.2 percent, lived in poverty (income of $25,100 or less for family of four)
  • 18.1% of children lived in poverty
  • 11.1% of households were food insecure on average from 2016-18
  • 13.3% of households struggling against food hardship from 2016-17, 2 year average
  • Poverty persists in all PA counties, urban, rural, suburban
  • Contributing factors: lack of education and job skills; job loss; lack of access to health care; addictions; underemployment; teen pregnancy

The Coalition for Low Income Pennsylvanians (CLIP) is the only statewide coalition with the singular goal of fighting poverty through public policy advocacy. Member organizations have multi-faceted agendas but combined, we represent a powerful force working to protect individuals and families who struggle against the ravages of poverty and its effects.

We are a group of diverse organizations including service providers, legal service advocates, faith, anti-poverty and anti-hunger groups, children’s advocacy organizations and community action agencies. Our primary mission is to advocate for responsible, compassionate, and cost-effective government policies.

CLIP was begun by the faith advocacy community in 1998 to provide due diligence for low income people as Pennsylvania began to implement the 1996 federal welfare law that created Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

CLIP Gets Stronger

In January 2018, CLIP became stronger by combining forces with Making Work Pay PA (MWPP) due to similar agendas and constituencies. MWPP is a group of advocacy and direct service organizations working to ensure that low-income families are always better off when parents go to work, work more hours or earn promotions or raises. They worked tirelessly with the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee on a study of Family Work Support Programs.

Federal Welfare Reform Hit a Milestone in 2016

The year marked the 20th anniversary of welfare reform and the creation of TANF.

Community Legal Services in Philadelphia issued a report in August 2016 called Mending the Safety Net: Why Pennsylvania Must Restore Its TANF Program to Protect Its Neediest Families. In November CLIP sent a letter to Governor Wolf in support of fixes to Pennsylvania’s TANF program suggested in the report. The letter was signed by 40 organizations or individuals. In January 2017, representatives of CLIP organizations met with Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas to review our concerns about the continued reality of poverty in spite of a reduction in TANF caseloads in Pennsylvania.

CLIP and MWWP leaders met in January 2018 with DHS Secretary Teresa Miller to once again review our concerns about declining TANF caseloads in Pennsylvania and the overall state of poverty in the Commonwealth.

Combating Poverty Remains Central to Faith Traditions

Please see “A Statement Concerning Poverty” from the Pennsylvania Council of Churches for background on the many religious traditions’ commitment to those living in poverty.