by Nora Bosworth
In 2009 the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the country’s recession had formally ended; on Thursday a U.S. census showed that income inequality has risen throughout New York City, with Manhattan’s income gap mirroring that of sub-Saharan Africa. The New York Times reported that only a handful of developing countries—note, developing—have greater income inequality than Manhattan.
The lowest five percent of Manhattan’s earners currently make an average of $9,681 dollars, while the top five percent average a salary of $391,022. In other words, the richest Manhattanites are now making 40 times what the poorest are. A year ago the top five percent were making 38 times more than the poorest five percent, signaling that the income gap is growing.
The 2011 census showed 1.7 million New Yorkers are now living in poverty. Poverty is defined as earning less than $18,530 for a three-person family. Moreover, about 750,000 New Yorkers are earning less than half this number. Meanwhile, the top five percent of the city’s earners saw a $1,919 salary boost in the last year. Despite the startling poverty rates, there are in fact higher poverty rates in many other major cities throughout the country, the Times reports. We stand out for our inequality gap, however, with only one other county in the country beating Manhattan’s drastic income inequality.
Mayor Bloomberg’s press secretary, Samantha Levine, said Wednesday that the new numbers “reflect a national challenge: the U.S. economy has shifted and too many people are getting left behind without the skills they need to compete and succeed.”
She also quoted Bill Clinton, saying, “The old economy is not coming back,” and stated that the Mayor believes a new approach is needed.
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