New York City Report Shows More Were Near Poverty in 2011

As much as I love New York City, I hate it just as equally. After growing up in New Jersey and living in New York City, for the life of me, I don’t understand why people do it. From the noise, to the expensive housing, give me New Jersey any day. At least I know I could afford a house with a yard with a few trees in the backyard. In New York? I’d be lucky to find a small two bedroom condo somewhere in the crevices of Queens.

Living in New York City is a struggle for millions of people, and although the poverty levels are getting better, it’s still a serious issue. The New York Times recently wrote about the poverty levels in New York City:

The rise in New York City’s poverty rate as a result of the recession has apparently eased, but not before pushing nearly half of the city’s population into the ranks of the poor or near-poor in 2011, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg administration.

That year, according to the city’s measure, about 46 percent of New Yorkers were making less than 150 percent of the poverty threshold, a benchmark used to describe people who are not officially poor but who still struggle to get by. That represents a rise of more than three percentage points since 2009, when the nation’s recession officially ended.

By the city’s definition, a family with two adults and two children could earn $46,416 a year and still fall within 150 percent of the city’s poverty level. Unlike the official but rigid federal poverty level, the city’s measure balances the added value of tax credits, food stamps, rent subsidies and other benefits against expenses like health and day care, housing and commuting that reflect New York’s higher living costs. The city says a two-adult, two-child family is poor if it earns less than $30,949 a year. The federal government sets the level at $22,811.

So in New York City you have the “near-poor” and then the “poor-poor”. The near-poor residents are the ones who aren’t poor enough. Those people make way too much money to receive (by too much, they mean more than $30k) food stamps or other benefits that benefit them.

“After two bad years, things are not getting worse, and that’s the beginning of things getting better,” Dr. Mark Levitan, author of the analysis, said. “The city we see in 2011,” he added, “is one that’s at a turning point. From 2008 to 2010, we see a city deeply impacted by the recession — big declines in unemployment, earned income and increases in poverty. We get to 2011 and things have leveled off. We haven’t turned the corner, but that may occur soon.”

Personally, I don’t know anyone who can survive in New York City on $30,000 a year.  And I don’t want to be one of those people who have to figure out how to either.

So on one hand the city is slowly but surely making its way out of a recession, but it’s leaving the near-poor and poor to pretty much having to fend for themselves.

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