Dear Commons Community,
Early this week, there was a report that the rise in New York City’s poverty rate as a result of the recession had 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. As reported in the New York Times:
“[in 2011], 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’ 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.
Though more New Yorkers were working in 2011 than the year before, larger shares of children and working adults were classified as poor in 2011, and the proportions of Asians, noncitizens and Queens residents — overlapping groups — each rose by more than four percentage points since 2008.
The city’s analysis warned that cutbacks in federal programs could threaten any recovery and place pressure on the next mayor to maintain or expand public assistance.
“The recent increase in the state minimum wage affects the working poor and near-poor, and paid sick days are important, but missing rungs in the ladder make it really hard to climb out of poverty,” said Nancy Rankin, vice president for policy research and advocacy at the Community Service Society, which lobbies on behalf of the poor.
“The next mayor is going to face a very difficult budget situation in which he or she will struggle to maintain basic services and have little room to expand welfare-related programs or services to needy New Yorkers, a fiscal situation that is getting very little attention in the current mayoral race,” said Steven Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative group.”
In addition to poverty, the next mayor indeed will be facing a number of serious issues/problems related to budget, collective bargaining, and education to name a few.