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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2020 01:44 PM
From: Representative Malcolm Kenyatta and Rep. Jason Dawkins, Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler
To: All House members
Subject: Recognizing Poverty as a 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 Pennsylvanians, our neighbors, are suffering from a myriad of problmes that also have larger societal implications. But, sadly, we have 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.