gearPoverty & Emergency Assistance

The Jewish community in Pittsburgh is relatively affluent overall, but not all Pittsburgh Jewish households are affluent.

According to the most recent community study (2002), one in five Jewish households in Pittsburgh had an income of $25,000 or lower. In 2002, there were roughly 20,000 Jewish households in Pittsburgh, which means that about 4,000 Jewish households were considered low-income. According to a 2009 study of the entire city of Pittsburgh, 28.1% of all residents were living below the poverty level.1

The following metrics reflect service provided under Jewish auspices to Jews as well as others in need.

Summary Metrics

FY2016 FY2015 FY2014 FY2013 FY2012 Net Change from previous year Percentage Change from previous year
Approximate dollar amount of one-time financial assistance provided by organizations to individuals $811,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Number of clients served by food pantries under Jewish auspices 2,998 2,865 1,747 1,281 1,209 818 (4.6%)
Total pounds of food distributed by food pantries under Jewish auspices 289,614 312,286 245,864 209,208 238,593 66,422 (7.3%
Average value of food (per family of four) distributed annually by food pantries under Jewish auspices $3,848 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $848 28.3%
Number of clients served through career counseling services at a Jewish organization 1,713 1,452 1,038 1,129 1,245 414 18.0%
Percentage of clients placed in a job through career counseling services at a Jewish organization 85% 84% 85% 75% 70% (1%) 1.1%
Average time to get a job through career counseling services at a Jewish organization 4.25 months 4.5 months 4.5 months 4.5 months 5.5 months 0 (5.5%)
Number of preschool children who qualified for tax-credit scholarships 126 124  162 189 180 (27) 1.6%
Number of day school children who qualified for tax-credit scholarships 481 481  376 390 349 (14) 0%

  • The percentage of low-income Jewish families is higher than that reported by other communities with more recent data but comparable to national data from the same time period as the Pittsburgh study.

    Annual Jewish Household Income in Pittsburgh

    Percentage of Jewish Households Reporting Low Income

    The 2002 study found that 22% of Jewish households reported that they could not make ends meet or were just managing. This is a lower percentage than cities that have had more recent studies than Pittsburgh.

    Percentage of Households Cant Make Ends Meet

  • While there is no current or recent data to measure Jewish poverty in Pittsburgh, there is some indirect data showing income-related need. The number of students receiving scholarships provided by a tax-credit program to attend either a Jewish day school or prekindergarten has increased from 456 students in 2009 to 577 in 2012 and 538 in 2013.

    Tax Credit Scholarships


  • The primary tool for mitigating the impact of poverty is food and emergency assistance.  The average value of food received annually for a family of four costs about $3,000.  There are 1,200 to 1,300 clients helped each year in this way by Jewish community programs.

    Similarly, about 1,100 to 1,300 clients are served by career counseling services at a Jewish organization. Between 2013 and 2014 the number served went down 8.1%.  Three out of four clients successfully obtained employment during each of the past two years.