WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Poverty has been rising in the Washington, D.C., region, but it had the lowest poverty rate of any metropolitan area in the country last year, statistics show.
The Washington Post reported about 8.4 percent of the region's residents lived in poverty in 2010, up from 6.8 percent before the recession began in 2007.
But despite the increase, the rate remains far below the 15 percent poverty rate nationally and the rates for urban areas in the West and South such as El Paso, Texas, at 20 percent.
Economists pointed to the Washington area's strong economy.
"We continue to have one of the strongest economies of any metro region in the country," said Paul Desjardin, head of community planning for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. "It builds on a foundation of the extremely well-educated and talented workforce we have here."
The Post said the poverty rate is linked to the federal poverty level of $22,350 in annual income for a family of four.
In the past three decades, the region's economy has depended less on the federal government, said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. And the number of managerial professional workers has increased.
"Washington is loaded with professionals, and they beget more professionals," Carnevale said. "They have financial planners and doctors. D.C. is, and will continue to be, a magnet for professionals."