Adams Says NYC Regained Its Lost Jobs. Why Doesn’t It Feel That Way?


The median household income in Manhattan fell below $96,000, a more than 11 percent drop, while the Bronx, the city’s poorest borough, remained flat at $45,500.

In the same period, more people living on the margins faced financial challenges. Over 18 percent of New Yorkers, or 1.5 million people, were living in poverty, up from 16 percent before the pandemic, the biggest increase among major cities. An individual making less than $15,000 a year, or a family of four making below $30,000, were considered impoverished last year, according to the census. The poverty rates for Black and Latino New Yorkers were roughly twice the rate of white residents.

Now, economic hardship is spurring demand for more public aid. In July, 480,230 New Yorkers received state or federal cash assistance, a 51 percent increase from February 2020, before Covid gripped the city, Dr. Parrott said.

Wages have increased for some during the pandemic, but mostly for the already affluent, according to Lauren Melodia, deputy economic director at the Center for New York City Affairs.

In an analysis of labor data that split workers into three categories, low-wage earners, who made an average of $40,000 last year, received an average pay bump of $186 annually from 2019 to 2022. The top-tier earners, who made an average of $217,000 last year, received an average pay bump of $5,100 in each of those years, or 27 times more in extra income than low-paid workers.


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