People attend a food bank pop-up Thanksgiving distribution event in...

People attend a food bank pop-up Thanksgiving distribution event in Brooklyn in 2022. Two million New Yorkers were living in poverty that year, according to the Poverty Tracker Annual Report.


  Credit: Getty Images for Food Bank For N/Michael Loccisano

Poverty in New York City saw its largest single-year increase in over a decade, with nearly 1 in 4 New Yorkers struggling to meet their basic needs and children among the hardest hit, according to a report released this week.

That means 2 million New Yorkers were living in poverty, 500,000 more than in the year prior, according to the Poverty Tracker Annual Report, the sixth of its kind released by the philanthropic foundation Robin Hood, which collaborated with Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. The report covers 2022, the most recent year for which full statistics are available.

Of the 2 million, 420,000 were kids, 160,000 more impoverished children than in 2021.

A single renter is considered to be living in poverty if the person's income is about $20,000 or less; for a family of four — two adults, two kids — the number is about $44,000 or less, said Chloe Sarnoff, Robin Hood’s director of policy research and initiatives. That threshold, called the supplemental poverty measure, factors in necessities like housing, food, utilities and clothing, adjusts for localized costs, and counts tax credits, food stamps and other government benefits.

The report found that 1 in 4 children in New York City were living in poverty, as were nearly 1 in 4 adults. 

“This translates to an increase in the poverty rate from 18% in 2021 to 23% in 2022 and puts the city’s poverty rate at nearly double the national average (12%),” Robin Hood found. 

Sarnoff said that prior to the pandemic, there was a slow but steady decline in poverty, and during the pandemic, poverty was kept at bay by a slew of government programs, including expanded unemployment insurance, stimulus checks, a child tax credit and a moratorium on residential evictions.

“Then those expansions to policy expired, and we see the biggest year-over-year increase in the poverty rate since we’ve been doing this study,” she said.

Among the findings, comparing 2022 to 2021:

  • The poverty rate overall increased to 23% from 18%. 
  • The child poverty rate increased to 25% from 15%. 
  • Most New York City residents — 56% — lived in poverty or with low incomes. 

Sarnoff said households that make up to 200% of the poverty measure are considered to have low incomes. Perhaps they don’t struggle to make rent or pay for their next meal, but “you’re still more likely to suffer material hardships, such as difficulty affording housing every month, food, utilities and medical care.”

Citing U.S. Census Bureau data, Newsday reported last year that Long Island had a poverty rate in 2022 in the single digits, but that figure uses a stricter definition of poverty than the Robin Hood-Columbia study, not the supplemental poverty measure.

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