Manhattan Is Basically a Gated Community for the Rich

April 21, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

When it comes to wealth, New York County is “the most unequal county in the US,” according to Queens College professor and sociologist Andrew Beveridge. He explained the phenomenon in a recent talk at the Symposium on Inequality and reported by CityLab.

After climbing in the 1990s and 2000s, median income is back down to 1980s levels across the U.S. — but not in New York City. And if you look specifically at Manhattan, mean income is way, way up, despite the nation’s shrinking income. This graph that shows the mean income for the U.S., New York City’s five boroughs, and Manhattan, specifically, puts the wealth gap into perspective:


Since 1967, the top 20 percent of earners have seen their annual income grow at a significantly faster rate than the rest of the working population. And, surprise, the richest 5 percent saw their wealth increase the fastest. This wealth accumulation was amplified in Manhattan, which “experienced consistent gains, buoyed by the nation’s highest earners,” Beveridge explains in a blog post, because “even when Wall Street was losing money during the financial crisis, bonus payments remained high.”

(Photo: lkaloti)