Manhattan’s Wealth Gap Astronomical, Greatest In Country

September 18, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

In post-recession Manhattan, the rich are making nearly as much as they did before the economic disaster, while the poor are make the same or even less. The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, released today, reveals that the top 5% in Manhattan took in $854,394 in the final year of Bloomberg’s administration, 88 times the amount of the poorest 20%. This makes Manhattan a place with the greatest wealth disparity in the United States.

The median income for New York households was $52,223, a slight rise, but still about $2,000 less than before the recession. Divided by race, the picture looks bleaker: whites had a median income of $75,145, while Hispanics, the poorest group, had $36,196.

Meanwhile, the poverty rate is holding steady, with about 1.7 million New Yorkers legally living in poverty. Poverty in New York City means “$11,170 for an individual and $23,050 for a family of four.”

“The recovery seems to be going to those at the top, much more than those in the middle, while those at the bottom may even be losing ground,” said Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College of the City University of New York. He attributed the disparity to the surging costs of housing and the lack of housing subsidies and other forms of public assistance available to many needy families.

David R. Jones, president of the Community Service Society, told the Times, “The escalation in rents is driving people to the wall.” The numbers are stark, with “45 percent of New York City households [saying] they spent 35 percent or more of their income on housing.” (Photo: Ias – initially)