CONCENTRATED POVERTY IN NEW YORK CITY AN ANALYSIS OF THE CHANGING GEOGRAPHIC PATTERNS OF POVERTY

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1 CONCENTRATED POVERTY IN NEW YORK CITY AN ANALYSIS OF THE CHANGING GEOGRAPHIC PATTERNS OF POVERTY CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR CHILDREN APRIL 2012 The most recent recession has had a devastating impact on some of New York City s most vulnerable populations. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, since 2008 the number of people living below the federal poverty level in New York City grew by more than 120,000, to over 1.6 million in Also in 2010, one in three of the City s children lived in poverty up from one in four just two years prior. For many of New York City s poor, the daily struggle to meet their basic needs is compounded by living in overwhelmingly poor neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, communal resources are scarce and residents often face other significant obstacles to prosperity, such as a dearth of employment and educational opportunities, high crime rates, and poor housing quality. To better understand the scale and impact of this issue, Citizens Committee for Children of New York, Inc. (CCC) conducted an analysis of New York City neighborhood-level poverty data. Our findings, detailed below, suggest that despite a decline in the number of extreme-poverty neighborhoods and the share of people who live in them, concentrated poverty continues to be a serious problem for many communities. 1 It is well-documented that for the residents of very poor neighborhoods, the burdens of individual poverty are amplified. The obstacles they face may include high crime rates, poor health outcomes, reduced private investments, limited educational and job opportunities, and poor housing conditions. 2 CCC recognizes the cumulative effect of such risk factors on the lives of children in the community risk rankings found in our Keeping Track of New York City s Children publication. 3 DEFINITIONS Extreme-poverty neighborhoods are defined as neighborhoods with more than 40 percent of the population living below the federal poverty level and are measured geographically using the Census tract. Concentrated poverty refers to the prevalence of poor people 4 living in extreme-poverty neighborhoods. The concentrated poverty rate measures the share of poor people within a specified geographic area who live in these extreme-poverty neighborhoods. Citywide, concentrated poverty has declined in the past decade, but a large number of New Yorkers still lives in extreme poverty. The share of poor people living in extreme poverty neighborhoods in New York City declined from 25.9 percent in 2000 to 19.6 percent for the 2006 to 2010 period, a reduction of 24.1 percent. For children, gains were not quite as great; the share of poor children in concentrated poverty areas dropped 20.9 percent, from 31.9 percent to 25.2 percent during the same time period. These declines in the concentrated poverty rates may optimistically suggest that anti-poverty campaigns have had some successes in fighting poverty in the City s most vulnerable neighborhoods, but this conclusion should be cautiously drawn as the problems of poverty and concentrated poverty do persist in New York City. Citywide, more than 298,000 poor people, including about 124,000 poor children, live in extreme poverty neighborhoods. Overall, one in every ten children in New York City lives in a neighborhood where the poverty rate exceeds 40 percent. 1 This analysis was modeled after a Brookings Institute policy brief: Elizabeth Kneebone, Carey Nadeau, and Alan Berube, The Re-Emergence of Concentrated Poverty: Metropolitan Trends in the 2000s, The Brookings Institute: November ( 2 See Kneebone et al, p. 2 for a fuller discussion of these and other obstacles related to concentrated poverty, as well as citations to scholarly literature. 3 See Citizens Committee for Children, Keeping Track of New York City s Children, 2010, pp (or online at for more on Community District risk rankings. 4 The term poor people refers to individuals with incomes below the federal poverty level (FPL), as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010 the average FPL for a family of four was $22,314. See for more information on Census poverty definitions and thresholds.

2 CONCENTRATED POVERTY IN NEW YORK CITY Concentrated poverty continues to be a serious problem for many New York City neighborhoods. While the citywide concentrated poverty rate has declined, improvements have not been experienced consistently across the City s neighborhoods. Indeed, in eight communities, the concentrated poverty rates rose between 2000 and the period by at least two percentage points. (See Figure 1.) For example, in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (labeled 303 on Figure 1), the concentrated poverty rate rose from 38.0 percent in 2000 to 43.2 percent in According to the most recent data, nearly one-third (29.0 percent) of Bedford Stuyvesant s total population lived in extreme poverty areas, where more than half of the residents earned less than the federal Citizens Committee for Children of New York 2

3 CONCENTRATED POVERTY IN NEW YORK CITY poverty level (about $22,000 for a family of four in 2010). More than half (54.1 percent) of poor children and 42.2 percent of all children lived in these extreme poverty areas within this community. Alternatively, for neighborhoods where the concentrated poverty rates have fallen, the most recent data are in many cases even more troubling. For example, in the South Bronx neighborhoods of Mott Haven and Hunts Point (labeled 201/202 on Figure 1), the concentrated poverty rate fell 4.4 percentage points between 2000 and , but that was from a starting point of 78.6 percent. Over two-thirds (67.3 percent) of all residents and almost three-quarters (72.5 percent) of all children in these communities lived in areas of extreme poverty in In fact, while most communities in the Bronx saw their concentrated poverty rates decline between 2000 and , many still struggle with concentrated poverty rates of greater than 45 percent. (See Figure 2 and Appendix A for concentrated poverty rates for children and adults by neighborhood.) Nearly a quarter (24.1 percent) of the Bronx s over 1.3 million residents lived in extreme poverty areas in ; those 320,000 people represent over half of all City residents living in extreme poverty neighborhoods. Concentrated poverty disproportionately impacts Black and Latino communities. As is the case with poverty in New York City, concentrated poverty is more prevalent in communities with majority Black and Latino populations. Of the seven community districts with concentrated poverty rates of greater than 50 percent, all but one (Williamsburg/Greenpoint) have majority Black or Latino populations. One-third (33.0 percent) of all poor people living in extreme poverty neighborhoods are Black and about one half (49.9 percent) are Latino. Meanwhile, Blacks and Latinos make up just over one-fifth and just under one-third of the general population respectively. (See Figure 3.) Citizens Committee for Children of New York 3

4 CONCENTRATED POVERTY IN NEW YORK CITY The full impact of the most recent recession on the City s concentrated poverty remains to be seen. Limitations in the data used for this analysis may result in understating the prevalence of concentrated poverty in New York City. The most recent data available at the Census tract level reports an average of five years ( ) of survey responses about household income. This time period included years of both economic boon and recession. Since New York City s poverty rate continued to decline through 2008, when it hit a low of 18.2 percent (26.5 percent for children) before rising again to near-2000 levels, it is likely that the five-year averages do not fully reflect the impact of the recession, particularly in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit, such as many in the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn. 5 This report was prepared by Courtney Wolf, Policy Associate for Research and Data Analysis. 5 For a detailed discussion of the limitations of the five-year data in this context, see Kneebone et al, p. 4. Citizens Committee for Children of New York 4

5 Appendix A: Poverty & Concentrated Poverty: New York City, by Borough, and by Community District New York City Poverty, 2010 Concentrated Poverty Rates Children in Concentrated Poverty, # of Poor Child # of Poor All Children Poor Children Poverty Rate People Poverty Rate Children # Share # Share 20.1% 1,621, % 522, % 19.6% 208, % 124, % Manhattan 16.4% 254, % 51, % 11.3% 16, % 9, % 101/102 Battery Park/Tribeca/Greenwich Village 9.9% 14, % 1, Lower East Side 22.2% 34, % 6, % 15.2% 3, % 1, % 104/105 Chelsea/Clinton/Midtown 11.7% 15, % 1, % 3.0% 106 Murray Hill/Stuyvesant 7.0% 10, % % 107 Upper West Side 10.4% 20, % 2, Uepper East Side 6.8% 14, % Manhattanville 28.7% 35, % 8, % 12.8% 2, % 1, % 110 Central Harlem 28.1% 35, % 9, % 28.5% 6, % 3, % 111 East Harlem 30.8% 34, % 10, % 24.9% 4, % 2, % 112 Washington Heighhts 19.5% 39, % 9, % 1.4% % % Bronx 30.2% 408, % 155, % 39.5% 103, % 61, % 201/202 Mott Haven/Hunts Point 41.1% 58, % 23, % 74.2% 30, % 17, % 203/206 Morrisania/East Tremont 43.5% 67, % 29, % 65.3% 27, % 16, % 204 Concourse/Highbridge 35.0% 50, % 18, % 45.8% 16, % 9, % 205 University Heights 40.0% 53, % 21, % 55.6% 19, % 11, % 207 Fordham 32.7% 39, % 13, % 28.1% 7, % 4, % 208 Riverdale 18.5% 19, % 5, % 209 Unionport/Soundview 25.4% 46, % 15, % 8.7% 2, % 1, % 210 Throgs Neck 16.4% 17, % 7, Pelham Parkway 21.1% 25, % 8, % 212 Williamsbridge 21.2% 29, % 11, % 0.2% % Brooklyn 23.0% 571, % 198, % 20.5% 82, % 49, % 301 Williamsburg/Greenpoint 26.5% 38, % 13, % 54.3% 19, % 12, % 302 Fort Greene/Brooklyn Heights 18.1% 22, % 4, % 16.5% 2, % 1, % 303 Bedford Stuyvesant 30.7% 40, % 16, % 43.2% 15, % 9, % 304 Bushwick 28.5% 39, % 14, % 16.7% 4, % 2, % 305 East New York 36.0% 52, % 20, % 24.4% 7, % 4, % 306 Park Slope 11.3% 13, % 3, % 30.6% 2, % 1, % 307 Sunset Park 26.7% 36, % 10, % 1, % % 308 Crown Heights North 25.9% 30, % 10, % 13.4% 3, % 1, % 309 Crown Heights South 25.6% 27, % 9, % 310 Bat Ridge 15.3% 21, % 6, Bensonhurst 14.0% 22, % 6, Borough Park 32.2% 54, % 25, % 19.0% 7, % 4, % 313 Coney Island 28.0% 28, % 8, % 2.2% % % 314 Flatbush/Midwood 22.4% 36, % 13, % % % 315 Sheepshead Bay 13.7% 18, % 4, % 12.2% 1, % % 316 Brownsville 39.8% 44, % 17, % 54.1% 14, % 8, % 317 East Flatbush 15.4% 21, % 6, Canarsie 11.4% 23, % 7, % 17.3% 2, % 1, %

6 Appendix A: Poverty & Concentrated Poverty: New York City, by Borough, and by Community District (Cont'd) Poverty, 2010 Concentrated Poverty Rates Children in Concentrated Poverty, # of Poor Child # of Poor All Children Poor Children Poverty Rate People Poverty Rate Children # Share # Share Queens 15.0% 332, % 99, % 2.5% 4, % 3, % 401 Astoria/Long Island City 19.0% 31, % 8, % 6.9% 1, % % 402 Sunnyside/Woodside 12.2% 15, % 3, Jackson Heights 22.4% 37, % 12, Elmhurst/Corona 19.2% 25, % 7, Ridgewood/Glendale 17.1% 30, % 11, % % % 406 Rego Park/Forest Hills 9.7% 11, % 2, Flushing 14.3% 36, % 6, Fresh Meadows/Briarwood 13.7% 18, % 5, Woodhaven 13.1% 17, % 5, Howard Beach 11.6% 15, % 4, Bayside 7.3% 8, % 1, % 412 Jamaica/St. Albans 18.8% 41, % 14, % 413 Queens Village 7.1% 14, % 3, The Rockaways 22.4% 26, % 11, % 20.3% 3, % 2, % Staten Island 11.8% 54, % 18, % 1.7% % % 501 Willowbrook 17.9% 30, % 11, % 2.8% % % 502 South Beach 9.7% 12, % 3, % 503 Tottenville 7.0% 11, % 3,931 Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census Summary File 3, 2000; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 5 year Estimates, 2010; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 1 Year Estimates, 2010; Citizens' Committee for Children analysis, 2012.

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