By Gina Martinez
Poverty rates across the city are down, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity released its annual New York City Government Poverty Measure report last Friday. The report said that both the poverty rate and the near-poverty rate, which applies to people living below 150 percent of the city’s poverty threshold, have decreased since last year’s report. The city said there were 141,000 fewer New Yorkers in poverty or near poverty in 2016 compared with 2013.
The report showed a 1.6 percentage point decline in the near-poverty rate, going from 45.1 percent of New Yorkers in 2014 to 43.5 percent in 2016. The report also found that New Yorkers in actual poverty has declined since 2014, from 20.6 percent to 19.5 percent of New Yorkers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is on pace to reach its goal of moving 800,000 people out of poverty or near poverty by 2025. New York City has a population of about 8.5 million.
“We’re always working to make this city fairer for everyone, and it’s promising to see there are fewer New Yorkers living in or near poverty,” de Blasio said. “From Pre-K for All to paid family and sick leave to the most ambitious affordable housing plan in the city’s history, we are working to provide opportunities that will make a lasting difference in the lives of New Yorkers.”
The city attributed the decrease in poverty to the steady economic growth which has led to more New Yorkers having jobs. The median household income in New York City has increased 7.8 percent since 2014 and income in the bottom 20th percentile has increased 4.0 percent from 2014, according to the report. The city said a significant factor in the decline in poverty has been increases in the minimum wage, which the city lobbied for at the state level.
City Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the General Welfare Committee, said the city must always be a place where people can find economic security for themselves and their families.
“I am heartened to see progress for our most vulnerable residents despite economic challenges in the wake of a recession,” he said. “The city’s continued investment in innovative and critical initiatives has been key, and I hope we will see continued reductions in poverty in the years to come.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart