Half of New Yorkers faced poverty over past several years: report

Panelists at Robin Hood's No City Limits conference on February 13.
Panelists at Robin Hood's No City Limits conference on February 13.
Robin Hood
From left to right: Esther Duflo, Amy Finkelstein and Laura Arnold.

Half of New Yorkers faced poverty over past several years: report

People of color, women and immigrants have been most likely to experience poverty at some point between 2015 and 2018.
February 14, 2020

Half of New Yorkers have faced poverty at some point between 2015 and 2018 – a number that amounts to more than 3 million residents, according to a new report produced by the Robin Hood Foundation and researchers from Columbia University.

This trend has particularly impacted people of color, women, and immigrants. Hispanic adults were more than twice as likely to be living in poverty than white adults, the second annual Poverty Tracker report found. 

“New York City is the richest, most diverse, most populous city in the country,” said Irwin Garfinkel, a professor at the Columbia School of Social Work who worked on the report, at a conference hosted by Robin Hood on Thursday. “It’s also a port of entry for immigrants and it’s the center for world capitalism. Capitalism produces great riches – and unfortunately alongside that, by its very nature, a lot of economic insecurity.”

Researchers evaluated these trends using an alternative method of measuring poverty also used by the U.S. Census Bureau, which, unlike the main official poverty measure, takes into account a more broad definition of income. Even so, they found similar overall declines in poverty rates in New York that track with trends in the official poverty rate – though it still remains about eight percentage points higher than the national average.  

Government assistance programs were key to keeping the poverty rate lower, researchers noted. Without housing subsidies, New York City would have seen a 5% increase in the poverty rate. The report found comparable results for tax credits, food assistance programs and cash assistance – which bodes poorly for the future, given that President Donald Trump has proposed many cuts to social safety benefits in his latest budget

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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