The U.S. Census Bureau released their annual poverty numbers for New York City today, noting that from 2018-2019 poverty in the city declined by 1.3 percentage points to 16%. This decline reflects the national poverty numbers released on Tuesday that saw a similar decline in poverty by 1.3 percentage points to 10.5%. Unfortunately, these numbers no longer reflect the realities of millions of New Yorkers who are seeing ever increasing economic hardship over the past months as a result of our current economic recession. As shown in FPWA’s recently published analysis, 1.25 million New Yorkers abruptly lost their jobs by May and an astounding 58 percent of New York’s households included someone who lost employment income between March 13th and July 21st. Additionally, SNAP uptake, a good metric for increased economic needs, has increased by 13% since February.
The unprecedented economic hardships faced by a growing number of New Yorkers highlights both the fragility of the economic gains of recent years and the need for immediate policy interventions to support those who are increasingly struggling to make ends meet. Another robust federal stimulus package will be critical to our economic recovery, and our safety net programs must be shored up in order to ensure that our recovery is fair and reaches the Black and brown communities who have borne the greatest impact of the Covid pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.