Census data: Detroit poverty rate drops 4 percent in 1 year

Mayor Duggan encouraged but says poverty rate is 'still too high'

Detroit skyline on Sept. 14, 2017. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Updated estimates show fewer people living in poverty in Detroit although it still has the highest rate among the nation's 20 largest cities.

Statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Census place Detroit's 2016 poverty rate at 35.7 percent, down from nearly 40 percent the year before.

The poverty threshold for a family of four is $24,563. The national poverty rate was 14 percent last year.

After Detroit, Cleveland has the second-highest poverty rate among big cities at 35 percent from 34.7 percent in 2015. Philadelphia was third at 25.7 percent from 25.8 the year before.

Detroit's continue to rebound from the national recession and the city's 2014 exit from bankruptcy.

Mayor Mike Duggan says "the poverty rate is still too high, but a 4-percent drop in one year is significant."

“This is a significant step forward, but just a first step," said Duggan. “It appears our efforts toward attracting major job providers and training Detroiters for the growing number of available jobs are beginning to pay off.”

The report also shows that the average household income in Detroit increased by $1,900, or 7.5 percent, between 2015 and 2016, with the largest gains occurring in the middle and lower level of the income spectrum.

The increase in Detroit was more than double that of the national median income, which rose 3.2 percent, and four times larger than the statewide increase.

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