The report shows that both the poverty rate and the near-poverty rate (the percentage living below 150 percent of New York City’s poverty threshold) have significantly decreased since Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014. The report shows a drop in the near-poverty rate to 43.1 percent in 2017 from 2013’s rate of 45.9 percent, a 2.8 percentage point decline. The report also demonstrated that the percent of New Yorkers in actual poverty has declined from 20.7 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2017, a 1.7 percentage point decline.
The 2017 poverty rate of 19 percent matches the pre-recession 2008 rate – the lowest since tracking began in 2005. In 2017, there were about 236,500 fewer New Yorkers in poverty or near-poverty than there would have been if the poverty rate had remained at the 2013 level, putting the City on course to reach its 10-year goal of moving 800,000 people out of poverty or near-poverty by 2025.
“At the beginning of this administration, we set out to ensure the doors of economic opportunity were open to all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This report reveals that bold progressive policies from Pre-K for All to Paid Sick Leave, combined with increases in the minimum wage, are uplifting working people across this city.”
“The local poverty rate – one of New York City’s most important metrics – has declined steadily since 2013,” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “This important achievement reflects efforts across the de Blasio administration and we remain committed to making even more progress.”
“The NYCgov poverty measure continues to be an important tool in New York City’s efforts to lower the poverty rate,” said Christine D’Onofrio, Director of Poverty Research for the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “The data shows the continuing importance of the City’s commitments to affordable housing, a $15 an hour minimum wage and improved access to benefits.”
The decrease in the poverty rate has been accompanied by rising wages, especially for workers at the bottom of the income distribution. From 2013 to 2017, median wage income in the city grew 14.7 percent. For those in the bottom quartile of the income distribution, wages grew 9.4 percent in 2017 alone.
The report also highlights the City’s many initiatives aimed at increasing equity and fairness. These programs include Pre-K for All; paid family leave and paid sick leave; efforts to help New Yorkers learn about and apply for benefits for which they are eligible; and Housing New York, the largest and most ambitious plan to build and preserve affordable housing in the nation.
The City’s NYCgov poverty measure is updated annually. This year’s report uses the most recent available information from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and is augmented by the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. The NYCgov poverty measure was developed to provide a more precise portrait of poverty in New York City than the official U.S. poverty measure. It takes into account the cost of living in New York City, including the higher cost of housing, and counts as income those programs that supplement New Yorkers’ income, such as tax credits and SNAP benefits—elements that are not taken into account in the federal measure. Additionally, the calculation of the U.S. Official poverty measure has remained largely unchanged for 50 years. New York City is the only U.S. city that calculates its own poverty rate using this more precise measure.
“No New Yorker deserves to live in poverty,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Though there is still much work to be done, I’m happy to see that the local poverty measure shows that the poverty rate has declined. I look forward to continuing working towards reaching the goal of moving 800,000 people out of poverty by 2025.”
The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) uses evidence and innovation to reduce poverty and increase equity. It advances research, data and design in the City’s program and policy development, service delivery, and budget decisions. NYC Opportunity’s work includes analyzing existing anti-poverty approaches, developing new interventions, facilitating the sharing of data across City agencies, and rigorously assessing the impact of key initiatives. NYC Opportunity manages a discrete fund and works collaboratively with City agencies to design, test and oversee new programs and digital products. It also produces research and analysis of poverty and social conditions, including its influential annual Poverty Measure report, which provides a more accurate and comprehensive picture of poverty in New York City than the federal rate.