New data released today by the Census Bureau document the rise and breadth of poverty in New York City. Although the news is not surprising for many advocates, organizations and individuals that see poverty every day, it succeeds in painting a shocking picture of reality for millions of New Yorkers.
Today’s New York Times reports:
“From 2009 to 2010, 75,000 city residents were pushed into poverty, increasing the poor population to more than 1.6 million and raising the percentage of New Yorkers living below the official federal poverty line to 20.1 percent, the highest level since 2000. The 1.4-percentage-point annual increase in the poverty rate appeared to be the largest jump in nearly two decades.”
At the same time that 75,000 city residents were pushed into the official definition of poverty, New York’s wealthiest continued to get wealthier, creating an income gap in Manhattan bigger than any other county in the country. The top fifth of earners made an average of $371,754 — 38 times as much as the bottom fifth making $9,845.
And while the rich get richer, our city’s children continue to be among the hardest hit by poverty. A full 30 percent of New York City children now live in poverty – that’s one in three kids!
The grim reality goes on and on: unemployment rose by one percentage point; the Bronx remains the poorest urban county in the United States; median household income has shrunk to 1980 levels; fewer people have health insurance; one in five people rely on food stamps; nearly 60% of Hispanic single mothers live in poverty…
And as we have already reported many times, the homeless population in New York City hit record levels in 2010.
As we delve into a new year of budget battles and face the probability of more spending cuts for our city’s most vulnerable, the Coalition for the Homeless is committed to pushing harder for better solutions, including renewing the Millionaire’s tax, utilizing federal resources to house homeless families, and maintaining vital public services. We hope you will join us!