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Mayor de Blasio Announces New York City Poverty Rate Hits Historic Low

October 1, 2019

According to new federal data, the poverty rate dropped to 17.3% in 2018; median household income up 13% since 2013

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio this week announced the federal poverty rate for New York City has dropped to a historic low. According to the 2018 American Community Survey, the poverty rate for New York City fell to 17.3% in 2018, a 3.6 percentage point drop since 2013 and the lowest rate recorded since the American Community Survey was released in 2006, in addition to the lowest the New York City poverty rate has been since the 1970s, based on estimates projected from decennial census data. Between 2013 and 2018, New York City also experienced a 13% growth in median household income, an 8% increase in median earnings and an increase of a half-a-million jobs.

“I was elected on a promise to end the Tale of Two Cities and that’s exactly what we’ve spent every day of the last five years working to do,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Poverty in New York City is at historic lows. From fighting for a $15 minimum wage to guaranteeing Pre-K for every child to Paid Safe and Sick Leave, we are putting more money in the hands of working families and creating a fairer city for all.”

“The bold actions that New York City is taking—on housing, wages, early childhood, health care, and more—are producing meaningful and important progress in reducing poverty," said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity.  "The positive trends reflected in this most recent federal Official Poverty rate for New York City are consistent with the findings of our office's own more precise poverty measure released each spring.  We are clearly moving in the right direction, and committed to pushing hard for even more."

Under the de Blasio Administration:

  • The Median Household Income (adjusted for inflation) in New York City grew by $7,501, from $56,298 in 2013 to $63,799 in 2018, a 13% increase.
  • Median Earnings in New York City grew by $2,322, from $38,426 to $40,392, an 8% increase.
  • The Official Poverty Rate for New York City fell, from 20.9% in 2013 to 17.3% in 2018, a 3.6 percentage point drop.
  • The Child Poverty Rate for New York City fell, from 29.8% in 2013 to 23.8% in 2018, a 6 percentage point drop.
  • Average employment in the city went from 3,839,783 to 4,377,920, an increase of over half-a-million jobs from 2013 to 2018.

In addition to revealing positive trends, the American Community Survey details changes in New York City measures from year-to-year. From 2017 to 2018:

  • Median household income increased by $1,898, or 3.1%, from $61,901 in 2017 to $63,799 in 2018.
  • Median earnings for workers in New York City increased by $1,179, from $39,213 in 2017 to $40,392 in 2018, a 4.4% increase.
  • The unemployment rate for 2018 was 4.1% compared to 4.6% in 2017. The 2018 rate is the lowest since the data have been made available.
  • The Official Federal Poverty rate for NYC is 17.3% for 2018, down from 18% in 2017. 
  • The Childhood Poverty rate is 23.8% in 2018, down from 25.2% in 2017.

The American Community Survey uses a representative sample of New York City population and is the national source for federal official poverty data at the local level. All 2013 dollar amounts are adjusted to 2018 dollars for comparison to the new data. The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity produces a more comprehensive NYC Government Poverty Measure (NYCgov Poverty Measure) each year, which takes into account the cost of living in New York City as well as the impact of non-cash benefits like SNAP and tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The 2018 NYCgov Poverty Measure will be released in the spring.

"While national economic and tax policies super-charge income growth among the richest, local policies like the rising minimum wage, universal pre-kindergarten and limited rent increases in stabilized housing have made a huge difference in the lives of less-wealthy New Yorkers. Family income gains and poverty reduction are benefiting a broader cross-section of city residents than at anytime since the 1960s,” said James Parrott, Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies, Center for New York City Affairs at The New School.

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