Thursday, September 22, 2011

One in Five New York City Residents Living in Poverty

This just in!

Poverty grew nationwide last year, but the increase was even greater in New York City, the Census Bureau will report on Thursday, suggesting that New York was being particularly hard hit by the aftermath of the recession.

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.

Many New Yorkers were spared the worst of the recession, but the median household income has since shriveled to levels last seen in 1980, adjusted for inflation. Household income declined among almost all groups — by 5 percent over all since the beginning of the recession in 2007, to $48,743 in 2010.

Manhattan continued to have the biggest income gap of any county in the country, with the top fifth of earners (with an average income of $371,754) making nearly 38 times as much as the bottom fifth ($9,845).

At top: a particularly dank stretch of the Bronx as seen from the 6 train, as it passes Whitlock Avenue Station.
When things are bad in Manhattan, they are invariably worse in the Bronx. In no particular order: according to USA Today newspaper, Americans at the lower income levels are having trouble paying for funerals for dead relatives. So bodies have been dumped... here and there, across the nation. Is there anything more demeaning than being so poor that you can't afford to bury your dead?

There was a by-election here last week: the congressional seat in the House, Democratic since 1920, voted for the Republican this time. But, it should be noted: 20 percent of eligible voters actually voted. Does that seem like a real victory?

Republican Presidential candidates debated last night... one great proposal came up: abolishing the Department of Education! Again I have to ask the question: if you believe, as they all do, in smaller government, why are they running for office?