Poverty Rate Continues to Climb Among NYC's Working Adults, Study Finds

By Colby Hamilton on April 30, 2014 4:02pm 

 Mayor Bill de Blasio released a report on April 30, 2014, showing the poverty rate continuing to climb in 2012, even after the economy began recovering from the Great Recession.
Mayor Bill de Blasio released a report on April 30, 2014, showing the poverty rate continuing to climb in 2012, even after the economy began recovering from the Great Recession.
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DNAinfo/Colby Hamilton

CIVIC CENTER — The number of full-time working adults living in poverty in NYC has continued to rise in the past five years, even as the economy improved, according to a report released Wednesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

The poverty rate for full-time working adults in the city rose 1.8 percent between 2008 and 2012, the most recent year for which statistics were available, according to the the report, issued annually for the mayor’s office by the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO).

Similarly, for families with two working adults, the poverty rate increased by 1.3 percent over the same time period.

The city uses a different model to calculate poverty than the federal government, by incorporating cost of living and other factors into its model. As a result, some of the report statistics skewed higher than the federal statistics, for example, finding that the city's overall rate of poverty was 21.4 percent in 2012, as opposed to the Census Bureau's calculation of 20 percent.

“The continued use of this more accurate poverty measure is an important tool in guiding the direction of policy,” Christine D’Onofrio, the report’s lead researcher, said in a statement.

De Blasio pointed to the research in a statement Wednesday as an additional mandate for his progressive plans, saying, “The data clearly shows that too many New Yorkers are struggling to get by, and the city must do more to address their needs.”

The report also found women were more likely to be living in poverty than men, at 22.3 percent versus 20.5 percent.

Among ethnicities, the city’s Asian population was hit hardest by poverty, the report found. Nearly 30 percent of Asians in the city were living in poverty in 2012, an increase of 6.6 percentage points from the previous year.

Hispanics were the next most impacted in 2012, with a poverty rate of 25.7 percent, followed by blacks at 22.5 percent, while whites in the city had the lowest poverty rate at 14 percent, according to the report.

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