Thursday, September 20, 2012 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Today’s Read: The Trend Continues: Record Poverty and Inequality in NYC

The rich got richer and the poor got poorer in New York City last year as the poverty rate reached its highest point in more than a decade, and the income gap in Manhattan, already wider than almost anywhere else in the country, rivaled disparities in sub-Saharan Africa. [New York Times]

This is the report out today from new census data released on poverty in New York City. Over 1 in 5 New Yorkers are now living on incomes of less than $18,530 for a family of three. And as median incomes for the lowest-income New Yorkers declined, those at the top saw gains. The income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in Manhattan is surpassed only by a handful of developing countries, including Namibia.

Some economists were stumped that poverty remained at record levels, since New York has gained back jobs since the recession. But James Parott at the Fiscal Policy Institute brings the mystery into perspective: most of the job growth in the city has come in low paying jobs that tend to perpetuate poverty instead of alleviate it.

Additionally, the City’s comptroller released a report today detailing the increasing unaffordability of rents. Over 80 percent of the lowest-income New Yorkers are currently living in housing that is unaffordable to them, meaning they are paying more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent—and frequently over 50 and 75 percent.

There are few words to adequately describe the reality of this current situation—shocking and unjust don’t seem good enough. Although we see families living in poverty every day at the Coalition, it's hard to fathom the true scope of the problem until you see numbers like this. Will you comment below and share what you are seeing and experiencing?

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