WXXI AM News

Census Provides Updated Look at Poverty in Rochester

Dec 9, 2016

The team leading the effort to move the needle on poverty in Rochester is analyzing the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Updated figures based on a survey from the five year period between 2011 and 2015 show an increase in extreme poverty in the city of Rochester, at 17 percent. Overall poverty was down slightly from 33.8 to 33.5 percent.

Childhood poverty decreased slightly from 52.5 percent to 51.6 percent.  But Leonard Brock, director of the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), says Rochester remains one of the leading cities in the country in childhood poverty.

"When more than half of the children in the city are living in poverty, we have a severe crisis on our hands, because poverty is correlated with so many other outcomes and indicators, and it really speaks to the health of a community."

Rochester now ranks first in overall poverty among a group of similar-sized cities, and fourth among the top 75 metropolitan areas.

RMAPI recently launched an adult mentoring program to help people overcome barriers to work.

The two-year pilot program will provide evidence-based mentoring models to assist 300 families living in the EMMA, Beechwood, and Marketview Heights neighborhoods in their efforts to find and sustain steady employment. 

The mentors being hired to work within the program have backgrounds in education and/or human services.

“We have to really be able to work together in ways that we haven't worked together in the past,” said Brock. “We have to be able to envision what a future of opportunity looks like."