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NYC incomes drop as poverty rates rise in shaky economy

A man looks through the trash in New

A man looks through the trash in New York City. (Getty Images) Photo Credit: A man looks through the trash in New York City. (Getty Images)

The recession has ravaged New York City incomes, and Manhattan households are bearing the brunt of the financial shock, startling census data released Thursday has found.

The median household income in the city dropped nearly 5% from 2009, to $48,743 in 2010.

In Manhattan, the median household income fell 9% - to $63,832 – in that same period.

Household incomes nationwide declined by a slimmer 2.3%, according to the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey.

Kenneth Goldstein, a Conference Board economist, said incomes in the Big Apple are bruised because three of the city’s major industries – finance, broadcast and advertising – were severely impacted by the global downturn.

“Mr. Fat Cat on Wall Street is no longer making $200,000 a year, so he’s in a smaller condo, spending less at a restaurant,” Goldstein said. “That has an effect on other businesses and [their employees’] incomes as well.”

As another sign that the fumbling economy is taking its financial toll, the city’s poverty rate jumped to 20.1% in 2010 from 18.7% in 2009. That’s the highest in a decade.

City officials said Thursday there are strong social safety-net programs to help the unemployed and those who need government assistance.

Social advocacy groups said the census numbers remain troubling, given how expensive it remains to live in New York.

“People are desperate for living wage jobs. And until those jobs are created, we must find the revenue to keep struggling New Yorkers fed and off the streets,” Mary Brosnahan, of the Coalition for the Homeless, said in a statement.


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