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Poverty Rate Increases In New York City

NEW YORK, Free food is distributed to residents in need at a weekly food bank at Our Lady of Refuge Church in Brooklyn on February 28, 2024 in New York City. The weekly distribution has been seeing a continual growth of clients and now serves over 300 people in line every week. According to the Poverty Tracker Annual Report from Columbia University and the philanthropic organization Robin Hood, over half of New York City residents, including a quarter of all children, either live in poverty or are low-income. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) A new report from the United Way of New York City and The Fund for the City of New York is shining a light on how hard it is to make ends meet.

Report: Half of NYC families lack enough income to survive without assistance

NEW YORK (WABC) — A new report from the United Way of New York City and The Fund for the City of New York is shining a light on how hard it is to make ends meet.

The report released Tuesday, titled “The True Cost of Living,” shows half of all families in New York City lack enough income to survive without assistance from the government, family or community.

Childcare costs have become problematic for middle-class New Yorkers. For example, one mother says she pays almost $2,700 a month for daycare – which can be staggering when factoring in rent and all the rest.

According to the report, costs have increased 131% while median earnings have increased 71%.
And 36% of households lacked enough income for basic needs in 2021.
The latest findings show 50% of working-age New Yorkers are struggling to cover costs. And roughly 3 million New Yorkers struggle to afford healthy food.

Erasmo Nieves is a father from Queens who works as a paralegal; his wife is a supervisor.
He says they make a decent salary, but it’s not enough to survive in the city. They’re considering moving with their three kids to Tennessee.


A new survey by the Citizens Budget Commission shows New Yorkers generally rate the quality of life as “not good” and much worse than in 2017. Only half of more than 6,000 New Yorkers surveyed plan to stay… if they can.

Policy recommendations put forth on Tuesday include:
-Support the JustPay campaign to increase wages for human service workers.
-Support the Community Land Act to enhance housing affordability.
-Improve public housing and child care subsidy programs.
-Improve access to preventative health services to decrease future costs.
The report shows the true cost of living is more expensive in Lower Manhattan at $7,956 a month.

The least expensive is in the Bronx. But an adult and two school-age children still need close to $5,000 a month to survive.

“Families are finding that between housing, between child care, transportation, it is almost impossible, and what we know from every news report that we see, families are voting with their feet, the middle class is leaving the City of New York because they are paying more for child care than they are for rent,” said Grace Bonilla, president of United Way NYC.

Policy recommendations put forth on Tuesday are a blueprint for action to be taken by local, state and federal governments, but the organizers of the report say private sector employers also have to make significant changes in light of wages not catching up to the cost of living.

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