While New York City as a whole has endured the recession better than the rest of the country, it has also seen a surge in poverty that outpaced the rest of the nation, according to U.S. Census data.
In all, 75,000 city residents tumbled below the poverty line between 2009 and 2010, pushing the total number of New Yorkers living in poverty to 1.6 million; 20.1 percent of New Yorkers qualify as poor (the 2010 federal poverty threshold for a family of three was $18,310), a percentage not seen in a decade. Overall household income declined by 5 percent between 2007 and 2010, down to $48,743.
The spike in the number of poor New Yorkers illuminates the vast disparity of wealth in a city that contains both the financial epicenter of the country and a county, the Bronx, that is the least healthy in New York state and the poorest urban county in America.
The income gap in Manhattan county was the highest of any in the country: Manhattan continued to have the biggest income gap of any county in the country, with the top fifth of earners pulling in an average income of $371,754 compared to $9,845 for the bottom fifth.
Single mothers, African Americans and adults lacking a high school diploma saw the largest increase in poverty rates, with Hispanic single mothers in the Bronx registering a staggering poverty rate of nearly 58 percent. A record 1.8 million residents -- nearly 1 in 5 households -- are now relying on food stamps.
Maybe because things looked so good for the well-educated and restaurants are packed, we figured that we missed this bullet, David R. Jones, president of the anti-poverty Community Service Society, told The New York Times. Projecting forward, I don't think it's getting better.
A steady stream of census data has painted a grim portrait of America's continued struggles with the recession, with more than a third of young American families with children were living in poverty and the overall poverty rate mounting to a 20-year high of over 15 percent.