Mayor also releases “Tale of a More Equal City,” highlighting progressive policies that have uplifted working families and redistributed wealth over the past eight years
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity today released the annual New York City Government Poverty Measure Report, which shows that both the poverty rate and the near-poverty rate reached historic lows in 2019. The 2019 poverty rate and near poverty rates are the lowest since the NYCgov poverty measure series began in 2005. In 2019 there were about 521,000 fewer New Yorkers in poverty or near-poverty than there would have been if the poverty rate had remained at the 2013 level. The report shows a drop in the near-poverty rate to 40.8 percent in 2019 from 2013’s rate of 47.2 percent, a 13.6 percent decline. The report also demonstrates that the rate of New Yorkers in actual poverty has declined from 20.5 in 2013 to 17.9 in 2019, a decline of 12.7 percent.
The low poverty rate in 2019 coincides with the first year the minimum wage reached $15 in New York City, gradually rising from $7.25 per hour in 2013. The report also highlights the City’s many initiatives aimed at increasing equity and fairness. These programs include Pre-K for All; paid family leave and paid sick leave; increased units of affordable housing and tenant protection measures; and educational and job training initiatives.
These initiatives are further highlighted in “The Tale of a More Equal City” report, which details the impact of the Mayor’s policies to redistribute wealth and decrease income inequality over two terms.
"My mission for the past eight years has been to make our city a fairer place to live for those who had been left behind for too long," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "These reports reveal that progressive policies from the $15 minimum wage to Paid Sick Leave to Universal Pre-K are actually working to redistribute wealth, cut poverty and uplift low-income New Yorkers across our city."
"Reducing poverty has been a central priority of this Administration, and the progress achieved reflects a citywide commitment and structural policy change," said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity. "There is always more work to do, but this historically low poverty rate represents an important milestone in the effort to make upward mobility more broadly available to all."
“The historic low of the NYCgov poverty measure is an important milestone. It shows the importance of a measure that can track multiple aspects of New Yorkers’ progress towards security and economic well-being,” said Christine D’Onofrio, Director of Poverty Research, Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.
The Poverty Report data reflects conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic. As New York City recovers from the pandemic related damage to the city’s economy there is every indication that federal COVID relief polices are averting a poverty crisis. Stimulus payments, extended unemployment and SNAP benefits and the expanded Child Tax Credit payments have assisted New Yorkers as the City moves towards a recovery.
About the NYCgov Poverty Measure
The City’s NYCgov poverty measure is updated annually. This year’s report uses the most recent available information from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and is augmented by the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. The NYCgov poverty measure was developed to provide a more precise portrait of poverty in New York City than the official U.S. poverty measure. It takes into account the cost of living in New York City, including the higher cost of housing, and counts as income those programs that supplement New Yorker’s income, such as tax credits and SNAP benefits – elements that are not taken into account in the federal poverty measure. Additionally, the calculation of the U.S. official poverty measure has remained largely unchanged for over 50 years. New York City is the only U.S. city that calculates its own poverty rate using this more precise measure.