TODAY’S READ: More Inequality and Poverty in NYC

New Census Bureau data shows that, in 2012, the number of New Yorkers living in poverty rose. And the gap between rich and poor New Yorkers has continued to widen.

The New York Times’ Sam Roberts reviewed the newly-released Census data. His article today highlights the most alarming stats, including:

– 1 in 5 New Yorkers, or some 1.7 million people, have incomes below the federal poverty line.

– Nearly 1 in 3 NYC children (31 percent) are living in poverty.

– Poverty rates for African-American and Latino New Yorkers are higher than for whites.

– Nearly 1 in 3 families headed by a single mother (32 percent) are living in poverty.

– Manhattan has the worst income inequality of any big county in the United States.

Here highlights from Roberts’ article:

The poverty rate rose to 21.2 percent in 2012, from 20.9 percent the year before, meaning that 1.7 million New Yorkers fell below the official federal poverty threshold. That increase was not statistically significant, but the rise from the 2010 rate of 20.1 percent was.

A deeper look at the poverty rate showed that it varied widely and predictably. It was higher among black and Hispanic New Yorkers. Among children 17 and younger, 31 percent fell below the poverty line. So did 32 percent of families headed by a single mother, and 19 percent of New Yorkers ages 65 and over.

Fourteen percent had no health insurance, including 4 percent of children under 18. Fifty percent of homeowners with mortgages and 54 percent of renters spent 30 percent or more of their income on housing. The share receiving food stamps rose to 21 percent, from 20.6 percent.

A yawning income gap seemed to show a city that has become stratified with wealth concentrated in a small percentage of the population.

Citywide, the mean income of the lowest fifth was $8,993, while the highest fifth made $222,871 and the top 5 percent made $436,931 — about 49 times as much as those with the lowest income.

Manhattan retained the dubious distinction of having the biggest income gap of any big county in the country. The mean income of the lowest fifth was $9,635, compared with $389,007 for the top fifth and $799,969 for the top 5 percent — more than an eighty fold difference between bottom and top.