Mayor Bloomberg is getting richer, but the same can not be said for many of his constituents. The number of city residents living below the poverty line increased 4.5% in 2011 to nearly 1.7 million people.
“Over 2010 and 2011, while the Dow surged by more than 1,000 points, the number of people in poverty in New York City increased by more than 100,000 people,” said Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
“The recent success of big business is simply not translating into the creation of living-wage jobs.” According to the Census Bureau’s data, the city’s median household income was $49,461 in 2011, below the nationwide $50,502 median. The data showed that 21% of New Yorkers lived in poverty last year, well above the 15.9% rate nationwide.
New Yorkers, however, were more likely to have health insurance, according to the data. Only 14.6 New Yorkers did not have health insurance, compared to 15.1 nationally, according to the survey. The sobering data comes as Bloomberg’s status among the filthy rich continues to climb, according to Forbes magazine. Hizzoner was named the 10th richest American this week, with a net worth of $25 billion.
Bloomberg spokeswoman Samantha Levine said the rising poverty numbers reflected a “national challenge” and required a national solution. “The U.S. economy has shifted and too many people are getting left behind without the skills they need to compete and succeed,” Levine said. “As [former] President Clinton recently said ‘the old economy is not coming back,’ and that’s why the mayor believes we need a new national approach to job creation and education, one that gives everyone a chance to rise up the economic ladder.”
Levine defended the mayor’s record, saying he “pioneered” strategies to fight poverty, including the Young Men’s Initiative.