21 Percent of NYers Live in Poverty: Census

The 1 percent increase in the poverty rate comes even as the city has gained back all of the jobs it lost in the recession

Thursday, Sep 20, 2012  |  Updated 11:09 AM EDT
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Rich Got Richer and Poor Got Poorer in NYC

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New census figures show that New York City's poverty rate last year was the highest in a decade, and the income disparity was among the widest in the country, and the world.

The wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites made more than 40 times what the lowest fifth did, according to the New York Times. The few countries with wider income gaps included Namibia and Sierra Leone, the Times said.

The poverty rate in New York City in 2011 was 20.1 percent, compared with the national average of 15.9 percent, according to new data set to be released Thursday.     

The 1 percent increase in the poverty rate comes even as the city has gained back all of the jobs it lost in the recession.     

Samantha Levine, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bloomberg, told The New York Times that the numbers "reflect a national challenge.''

"The U.S. economy has shifted and too many people are getting left behind without the skills they need to compete and succeed," Levine said.     

She added that's why the mayor believes a new approach is needed for job creation and education.    

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