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1 in 4 children in New York City are living in poverty, study says

LAW Ho Ming/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Poverty in New York City is rising at a startling rate and it’s affecting the city’s most vulnerable residents — children, according to a newly released report.


More than half of New York City residents, including a quarter of all children, live in poverty or are low-income, according to the Poverty Tracker Annual Report from Columbia University and the philanthropic organization Robin Hood.

Researchers surveyed a sample of 3,000 New York households for three months to track data on employment, assets, debts and health.

Overall, the city’s poverty rate increased from 18% to 23% and the number of New Yorkers living in poverty grew from 1.5 million to 2 million between 2021 and 2022, marking the largest single-year jump in poverty rates in a decade, according to the report.

The child poverty rate increased 66% from the previous year, according to the report.

Factors that influenced the poverty rate were the end of pandemic-era policies such as the Child Tax Credit and federal stimulus payments, the report noted.

“A clear path out of poverty requires a stronger safety net— and a policy of real investment in families with universal childcare,” Roberto Cordero, executive director of Grand Street Settlement, a nonprofit organization in New York, said in a press release. “One hundred percent of the 18,000 New Yorkers we serve at Grand Street are low income due to low wage jobs, inflation, and the cost of quality childcare and housing.”

The report also highlighted the disproportional rate at which minorities are experiencing poverty in relation to white New Yorkers.

Latino residents are twice as likely to live in poverty compared to white residents — 26% compared to 13%, according to the report.

Researchers said poverty rates for Asian and Black residents increased as well, by 24 and 23%, respectively.

The report found that women were more likely than men to be unable to afford their basic needs. It’s based on a metric called the Supplemental Poverty Measure, or poverty line, which is $43,890 per year. This figure represents what is needed for a NYC household with two adults and two children to afford a minimal basic standard of need.

The poverty threshold for a single adult renter was $20,340 in annual income, according to the report.

Poverty in New York City is nearly twice as high as the national poverty rate, which is 12%.

This is the sixth comprehensive Poverty Tracker Annual Report since 2012. Researchers monitored the impacts that COVID-19 and the related economic decline have had on New York City residents since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Our city is in the midst of an affordability crisis,” Richard R. Buery Jr., CEO of Robin Hood, said in a statement. “This would be deeply troubling at any point, but it is particularly disturbing given the steady progress New York City has made to reduce poverty in years prior.”

Buery noted that “temporary, stabilizing government policies” during the COVID-19 pandemic were able to help 500,000 children avoid poverty.

“But we have lacked the will to keep these policies in force,” he added. “We know that fully refundable tax credits, housing vouchers, and childcare subsidies can move millions out of poverty and hardship. We are calling on lawmakers to make investments that will help our neighbors live lives of opportunity.”

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