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Poverty Measure

The Poverty Research Team is responsible for the development of the NYCgov Poverty Measure. The alternative NYC poverty measure, in comparison to the official U.S. measure of poverty, includes a threshold that accounts for the higher cost of housing in New York City. Additionally, it incorporates the value of programs intended to alleviate poverty; adjusting family incomes for benefits such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The work has received nationwide attention and contributed to development of the Federal Supplemental Poverty Measure.

The New York City Government Poverty Measure, 2019

Cover of the NYC Government Poverty Measure 2005-2019 Report

The latest NYC Opportunity annual report on poverty updates the NYCgov Poverty Measure for New York City in 2019. This edition of the report provides a picture of poverty in New York City just before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The citywide poverty rate fell to 17.9 percent in 2019 from 19.6 percent in 2015, a decline of 1.7 percentage points that is statistically significant. The share of the population with resources up to 150 percent of their poverty threshold (those who are living in poverty or near poverty), fell in those years from 45.4 percent to 40.8 percent, a statistically significant decline of 4.6 percentage points.

The 2019 poverty and near poverty rates represent the lowest rates in the NYCgov poverty rate series, which began with 2005 data. As such, 2019 represents a peak year in progress against poverty. The lessons learned in reaching that point will be critical going forward, as we continue our efforts to decrease poverty and work towards an equitable recovery in the post-COVID era.

2019 technical appendices available on request

Past Poverty Reports and Technical Appendices

CEO's first working paper on poverty in New York City, issued in August of 2008, contrasted poverty rates for 2006 derived from CEO's application of the NAS methodology against those based on the official method. The 2010 report focused on how and why poverty rates using our methodology have changed over time, using the one-year ACS samples for 2005 to 2008.

The CEO Poverty Measure