What to Know
- Two in five working-age New York City households do not have the income necessary to cover basic necessities, a study revealed
- Basic necessities include food, housing, health care and child care, according to the report
- The price of basic needs increasing almost three times the rate of wage increases between 2000 and 2018, the study says
Two in five working-age New York City households do not have the income necessary to cover basic necessities, like food, housing, health care and child care, according to a recently released study.
The findings were reported in the study “Overlooked & Undercounted 2018: The Self-Sufficiency Standard for New York City” published by the non-profit City Harvest published a report, in partnership with the Women’s Center for Education and Career Advancement, United Way of New York City and The New York Community Trust.
The study reveals which families are struggling to make ends meet. This analysis is based on the Self-Sufficiency Standard, geographically specific, and family composition-specific measure of income adequacy.
Over the last 22 years, calculation of the Self-Sufficiency Standard has documented the continuing increase in the real cost of living.
The report reveals that more than 905,000 New York City households — or roughly 2.5 million men, women and children living in the Big Apple — will lack money for basic necessities.
According to the report, “many of these hidden poor find they earn too much income to qualify for most supports, yet are still struggling to meet their basic needs. To make things even worse, their efforts are exacerbated by the reality that housing, health care, and other living costs are rising faster than wages in New York City.”
The study finds that all boroughs are among the 12 most expensive large cities in the country and in order to make ends meet, an adult with one school-age children will need a minimum annual income ranging from about $51,000 in the Bronx up to $86,000 in South Manhattan.
For a Bronx family of three, the minimum needed is about $76,000, which is almost four times the official poverty measure and double was a minimum wage job pays, the study determined.
Additionally, “two out of five New York City households (excluding the elderly and disabled) have incomes below the Standard, while only 14% fall below official poverty thresholds.”
A profile of households below the Self-Sufficiency Standard reveals that those lacking adequate income are diverse with 84 percent having at least one worker in them — three-fourths of whom have a full-time job.
Additionally, the report says that more than one-third are Latinx, about one-fourth are African-American, one-sixth are Asian American, and over one-fifth are White, while almost 75 percent are citizens, native or naturalized.
Fifty-seven percent of households below the Self-Sufficiency Standard are also headed by women, the study says.
Households below the Standard in New York City in 2016 are better educated and fewer have children than in 2012, according to data compiled in the study, which also found that wages in New York City are not keeping up with rising costs — with the price of basic needs increasing almost three times the rate of wage increases between 2000 and 2018.
The analysis also includes a list of recommendations in an effort to address the issues that bring forth the lack of being able to afford basic necessities.
Among the recommendations are approving policy changes that would be most impactful on increasing income, reduce major nondiscretionary costs, reach a broad audience, are inclusive of traditionally marginalized populations, and advance coordinated and interconnected solutions.