Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Greater Johnstown School District is Highest in PA in Poverty for Ages 5-17

Map of the Greater Johnstown School District (in Blue) with 42.3% Poverty Age 5-17
The new SAIPE (Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates)  are out for the year 2017.  It covers all states, counties, and school districts (for children age 5-17) in the US.  For the US the rate for children 5-17 was an estimated 17.1%.  For the state of Pennsylvania it was 15.7% for this age group. There were 500 school districts in Pennsylvania in 2017.   This post will focus on southern Cambria County (the whole county had 21% poverty for age 5-17).  

The Greater Johnstown School District (GJSD) had the highest poverty rate in the state (highlighted in blue in the map above) with 42.3% poverty for ages 5-17.  By contrast the neighboring districts of Westmont (which covered the municipalities of Upper Yoder, Westmont, Southmont, and Elim in the map) had a rate of 10.1%, Ferndale (in 4 green fragments in the southeast corner of the GJSD) had a rate of 23.8%, Richland (covering Richland and Geistown) had a rate of 11.2%) and Conemaugh Valley (covering East Conemaugh) had a rate of 21.3% which is almost exactly at the county rate.  The top ten school districts with the highest poverty percentages are presented in the table below.

Looking at past estimates for GJSD that I have written about in this blog, the poverty rates for ages 5-17 was 40.7% in 2013, 41.1% in 2014, 36.9% in 2015, 42.5% in 2016, and it was 42.32% in 2017.  There is some statistical uncertainty in these estimates, especially for districts with small populations such as Salisbury-Elk Lick SD with 473 children.  GJSD however is still a relatively large district population in this group so we can be reasonably confident in these numbers.  The population of GJSD is larger than the population for Johnstown city (19,643) because it includes surrounding municipalities.  


                  2017 Poverty Estimates for School districts                                                                        
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Program (SAIPE)                                                                                                            Release date:   December 2018
Name
Estimated Total Population
Estimated Population 5-17
Estimated number of relevant children 5 to 17 years old in poverty who are related to the householder
% of Children 5-17 in Poverty
Greater Johnstown School District
25,603
3,464
1,466
42.32
Salisbury-Elk Lick School District
2,844
473
199
42.07
Clairton City School District
6,788
865
347
40.12
Aliquippa School District
9,193
1,257
494
39.30
Farrell Area School District
5,350
837
323
38.59
Harrisburg City School District
50,923
8,743
3,365
38.49
Sto-Rox School District
12,449
1,841
682
37.05
Duquesne City School District
5,561
949
347
36.56
Brownsville Area School District
14,443
1,786
623
34.88
Shenandoah Valley School District
7,638
1,174
407
34.67

I was going to write about how the Greater Johnstown, PA was the poorest in the state thinking that I would be the first but apparently I have been scooped.  Samuel Stebbins and Michael B. Sauter at MSN.com have produced a list of the poorest towns in each state and Johnstown was it for Pennsylvania.  They state that the median annual income here is $24,075 below the state income of $54,895.  A search of the census bureau's statistical profile for Johnstown shows that the median income is $23,636 for 2017 for Johnstown and $ 56,951 for the state.  The authors did not state the source of their numbers but I assume that they used numbers from the census from some other recent year.  The 2017 numbers suggest an even larger income gap between Johnstown and the rest of the state now than the year Stebbins and Sauter used.
The GJSD has been going through upheaval over nepotism going on in the school board.  This does not mean that the upheaval is what is causing the problems in poverty in the district but it does mean that the focus must be on providing services the the poor students there.   
**Related Posts**

New Poverty Estimates for PA Counties


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