2021 City Of Buffalo Mayoral Race-Another Perspective: FACTS/POVERTY

The local childhood poverty rate is now the second-worst among major American cities, based on federal data.

By Joan L. Simmons / Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

It should be obvious that the 2021 race for Mayor of Buffalo represents more than a change in personalities. It represents, in my opinion, a much needed and overdue refocus of the city’s priorities. A reset. A wake-up call for whoever assumes the office of Mayor in 2022.

Mayor Byron Brown was elected and assumed office as Mayor of the City of Buffalo in 2006. The City of Buffalo was the third poorest city in America with populations of over 250,000, according to U.S. Census data from 2007. This figure shows that 28.7% of the city’s population was living at the poverty level or below, compared with 12.5% nationally. In the United States, the definition of poverty is an individual with income less than $36 per day or a family of four with income less than $72 per day. … This is calculated from the poverty threshold as set by the U.S. Census Bureau. Poverty is about not having enough money to meet basic needs including food, clothing and shelter. However, poverty is more, much more than just not having enough money. 

The poverty rate for all people in Buffalo, regardless of age, is almost more than twice as large as the overall U.S. average. The Census Bureau says that 70,925 of Buffalo’s 245,578 residents are living in households classified as poor, yielding an overall local poverty rate of 28.8%. In case anyone would blame the “pandemic’ for the high poverty rate, that 28.8% represents Buffalo residents that had an income below the poverty level in 2019, which was 54.7% greater than the poverty level of 13.0% across the entire state of New York.

The US Census Bureau using the American Community Survey (ACS) 5 year estimate/ 2015-2019, states that the number of Persons living in poverty in Buffalo at 30.1%. Buffalo, the second largest city in New York State. The World Population Review found that Buffalo with a 2020 population of 254,290 had an average household income of $55,305 with a poverty rate of 30.06%. That percentage has a face; it is not just a number, it represents 76,440 women, men and children who call the City of Buffalo home. The US Census Bureau also called Buffalo the 8th most segregated city in the country. It found that the Buffalo population is currently declining at a rate of minus 0.20% annually and that its population minus 2.69%, since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 261,310 in 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The US Census Bureau also establishes

Each year a new series of poverty thresholds. It found that six western New York school districts had poverty levels larger than 30%. This was a newly released figure for 2020. The Buffalo School District has the region’s worst poverty problem, with 15,175 of its 39,847 school-age children living below the poverty line. That translates to a youth poverty rate of 38.1%. 

You need not be a Sociologist to understand the devastating affect that poverty has on health, education, crime and a Person’s basic quality of life. Look around you, see and witness them for yourselves. The “pandemic” served among other things to highlight the results of poverty, racial inequities and disparities in the city of Buffalo. It also highlighted, under the Brown administration, just how wide the gap is between the rich and poor, the haves and the have nots. It is true that Mayor Brown inherited a City already steeped in poverty when he assumed office as Mayor in 2006. 

However, the fact is that in all of Mayor Brown’s 16 years in office, the poverty level in the City of Buffalo has not changed. Buffalo is still one of the poorest cities with populations over 250, 000 in the United States. 

Look for my part 2 for august 24 online and in the august 19 edition.