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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 1, 2019 02:41 PM
From: Representative Malcolm Kenyatta and Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, Rep. Jason Dawkins
To: All House members
Subject: Recognizing Poverty as a Health Crisis

To: All House Members

From: Representatives Malcolm Kenyatta, Jason Dawkins, and Elizabeth Fiedler

Date: February 1, 2019

Subject: Recognizing Poverty as a Public Health Crisis

Over 1.5 million Pennsylvanians currently live in poverty while an additional 3.5 million live just above the poverty line and struggle to get by. These individuals suffer from a myriad of personal ailments that also have larger societal implications. But, sadly, we as a society often ignore the harm that poverty has caused in our state. This is why we are introducing a resolution to recognize poverty as a public health crisis in Pennsylvania.

Among those living in poverty, the most vulnerable are impacted at a disproportionally higher rate. Approximately 17% of Pennsylvania children are living in poverty. These children experience increased struggles in school and are 4.5 times more likely to drop out than their more affluent peers are. Moreover, economic data show that poverty costs an estimated $500 billion to the nation’s economy every year, reduces productivity by 1.3%, results in heightened crime rates, and increases overall health expenditures.

In order to combat this crisis, increased collaboration among various facets of government at the state, county, and local level – such as has been implemented to fight the opioid crisis – is necessary. If we are ever going to improve the condition of our most impoverished citizens, we first need to recognize the public health crisis that their situation creates.

Join us in supporting this resolution and help bring attention to the individual and societal harms that poverty causes in our state.