Mayor de Blasio Announces Release of Poverty Measure Report: First Statistically Significant Decline in Near-Poverty Since the Great Recession

May 16, 2017

NEW YORK–The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity – known until today as the Center for Economic Opportunity – today released its annual New York City Government Poverty Measure report, covering the years 2005-2015. The report shows a significant one-year decline in the near-poverty rate (the percentage living below 150% of New York City’s poverty threshold) from 45.1 percent in 2014 to 44.2 percent in 2015. This is the largest one-year decline since the NYC-specific poverty measure began tracking the rate, beginning with 2005 data, and the first statistically significant one-year drop since the Great Recession. Additionally, analysis by the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity using 2013 census data also showed that NYC is on track to lift 281,000 New Yorkers out of poverty between the start of 2014 and the end of 2017 – five years ahead of the timeline laid out by OneNYC.

The report released today also demonstrated that the percentage of New Yorkers in actual poverty fell to 19.9% from 20.7% over the two-year 2013-2015 period, a statistically significant decline.  On a one-year basis, poverty fell from 20.6 in 2014.  Poverty is at its lowest level since the Great Recession. 

 “For the first time since the recession, we are seeing significant results showing fewer New Yorkers are living at or near the poverty line. It may sound small, but it is a really big deal,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Our analysis also shows that 281,000 New Yorkers will be lifted out of poverty or near-poverty by the end of this year. These are promising numbers, and we are going to continue implementing progressive policies that make New York City a fairer and more equitable place to live."

“This report is the first issued under its new name, and it brings good news: New York City is reducing poverty and broadening opportunity,” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (formerly the Center for Economic Opportunity).  “The City is focused and committed to building on these gains and achieving even greater progress.” 

"This administration's focus on equity is unwavering", said Mindy Tarlow, Director of the Mayor's Office of Operations. "NYC Opportunity has been, and will continue to be, a key partner in our ongoing efforts to reduce inequality and advance opportunity for struggling New Yorkers."

Many groups also saw significant declines in rates of at or near poverty from 2013-2015, including: Men, Women, childless families, single parents with children, including single mothers, children in one-parent families, citizens and naturalized citizens, working age adults, seniors, Non-Hispanic Whites, Non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanics, high school educated only, bachelor degree or higher, Brooklyn, Queens. 

The newly-designated Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) evolved from its origins in two separate but related mayoral units – the Center for Economic Opportunity and HHS-Connect. The Center was created a decade ago as one of the country’s first municipal innovation labs, and HHS-Connect was created to use data and technology to more holistically support clients of the City's health and human services.

Under Mayor de Blasio, NYC Opportunity uses evidence and innovation to reduce poverty and increase equity. It advances research, data and design in the City’s program and policy development, service delivery, and budget decisions. Its work includes analyzing existing anti-poverty approaches, developing new interventions, facilitating the sharing of data across City agencies, and rigorously assessing the impact of key initiatives. NYC Opportunity manages a discrete fund and works collaboratively with City agencies to design, test and oversee new programs and digital products.  Part of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, NYC Opportunity is active in supporting the de Blasio administration’s priority to make equity a core governing principle across all agencies.  

NYC Opportunity’s annual New York City Government (NYCgov) Poverty Measure provides a more accurate and comprehensive picture of poverty in New York City than the federal rate.  The higher threshold of the NYCgov measure considers the cost of living in New York City, as well as important sources of income and benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and SNAP, that are not included in the federal measure.

The Mayor announced the results at New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture today while discussing strategies for reducing poverty and inequality with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker.  A panel discussion afterwards focused on poverty and evidence at both the local and national level. The panel was comprised of key city leadership – Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives, Rich Buery, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Herminia Palacio,  and Commissioner of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Maria Torres-Springer – as well as two nationally-recognized experts, Gordon Berlin, President, MDRC, and Cecilia Muñoz, Vice President of Policy and Technology and Director of the National Network at the New America Foundation, and former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council 2012-2017.

Analysis from the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity also showed:

The Mayor’s OneNYC goal of moving 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty by 2025 is ahead of schedule:

  • Today.  Since 2013, an estimated 281,000 people will have moved out of poverty or near poverty by the end of 2017, about the population of the entire city of Newark.  This estimate is based on analysis conducted by NYC Opportunity during the development of One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City using 2013 Census data (the most recent then available) to assess the effects of various minimum wages.  
  • Going Forward.  We anticipate that 800,000 people will move out of poverty or near poverty by the end of 2020  --a full five years ahead of schedule - as the minimum wage rises to $15 and other anti-poverty initiatives take hold.  

New York City is creating good jobs:

  • The share of New Yorkers with jobs paying more than $50,000 a year rose to its highest level in a decade, up to over 48% of 18-64 year olds working full-time in 2015.
  • 124,000 more New Yorkers made more than $50,000 per year in 2015 as compared to 2013. 
  • After years of decline, median income rose 4.9% between 2013 ($53,803) and 2015 ($56,455). 
  • The poverty rate for NYC Workers (ages 16 to 64) declined 5.9% from 2013 to 2015.  This represents about 52,000 people.

Other recently released data shows more people are working:

  • Separately reported unemployment data shows that the NYC unemployment rate dropped to 4% in March, 2017, a record low for New York City.  That means 262,490 more New Yorkers are in workforce today than just three years ago – about as many people as the entire population of Jersey City.
pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

(212) 788-2958