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The end of federal government aid due to the pandemic leaves half a million new poor people in New York

2024-02-21T20:21:24.739Z

Highlights: The end of federal government aid due to the pandemic leaves half a million new poor people in New York. 25% of the city's minors, some 600,000 children, were in poverty in 2022. In percentage terms, 23% of city's residents lived in poverty, defined as not being able to afford basic needs such as housing and food. In 2021, that figure was 18%. The main reason for the increase in poverty was the end of the measures adopted by the federal government to address the closure of the economy and the loss of employment.


25% of the city's minors, some 600,000 children, were in poverty in 2022


Columbia University and the NGO Robin Hood track marginalization in New York, the city of billionaires and the stratospheric cost of living.

Unlike other reports, which are limited to a specific visit at a given time, the so-called Poverty Tracker, a pioneering study established in 2012, continuously monitors 4,000 homes in the Big Apple over several periods. of the year, that is, it offers a dynamic and evolutionary perspective, for better and for worse, of homelessness.

The conclusions of the latest report are disheartening: almost two million residents, including one in four children (600,000 minors), were in poverty in 2022, an increase of half a million people that represented the largest increase in a single year in a decade.

There were 1.2 million adults and 350,000 children below the poverty line.

The fundamental cause of this wave of new poor was the end of government aid to mitigate the pandemic.

In percentage terms, 23% of the city's residents lived in poverty, defined as not being able to afford basic needs such as housing and food, according to the study.

In 2021, that figure was 18%.

The ravages of the pandemic and, subsequently, the ruthless inflation, which precisely triggered the price of income and the basic basket, have put a quarter of the city's total population, of about eight million people, on the ropes.

A reality that is attested daily by the long lines in front of soup kitchens and food banks: an image typical of the pandemic that, however, has been perpetuated over time.

In fact, according to the study, the influx to food banks has multiplied by two among those who experience food poverty, that is, a reality bordering on hunger or at least extreme difficulty in facing the most basic purchase: in some areas In the city, such as Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, queues increased in 2022 to 2,800 people per month, compared to 500 before the pandemic.

A third of the lowest-income households have stopped paying at least one month's rent, while half of the least qualified workers have lost their jobs.

The effect on minors is atrocious: 71% of parents with lower incomes expressed last year their fear of their children failing or dropping out of school.

The main reason for the increase in poverty, both in the rest of the country and in New York, was the end of the measures adopted by the federal government during the pandemic to address the closure of the economy and, in many cases, the loss of employment, such as expanding the child tax credit, improving unemployment insurance and cash payments that helped low-income families cope with the rising costs of living, according to Christopher Wimer, director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University and co-author of the report.

“It's discouraging.

After several years of poverty reduction in the city, we are going in the opposite direction,” declared the expert at the presentation of the report.

Inequality refuses to abandon minorities: poverty defined 39% of Latinos and 33% of African Americans in 2022, compared to 18% of whites.

Disparities also discriminate by gender, with women more likely than men to be unable to meet their basic needs.

According to James Parrott, director of the Center for New York City Studies at the prestigious New School, one of the main reasons for these gaps is the uneven recovery in employment.

Although the city officially recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic in October, the theoretical return to normal has occurred mostly in low-paid sectors, such as home health care, which pays workers an average of 32,100 dollars per year (in 2022 the poverty line for a family with two children was $44,000 and for a single adult, $20,340).

The average household income in New York is about $75,000.

Additionally, the retail sector, which employs a majority of Black, Latino and Asian workers, lost more jobs than any other.

Despite the recovery in employment, New York multiplies the country's unemployment rate by three, even more markedly in the case of minorities: last year the average rate among black New Yorkers was 9.3%, more than three times higher than among whites (and that of their compatriots as a whole).

However, the child poverty data is the most notable in the report, due to its dramatic nature.

The 25% of children living in poverty in 2022 is the highest rate since 2015, according to the report.

And it also represents a sharp setback compared to 2021, when the expansion of the federal child tax credit program reduced child poverty in New York City by 30%.

It was one of the star measures adopted by the Government of President Joe Biden at the start of his mandate, as a shock plan to combat the ravages of the pandemic.

The aid ended in September 2021, as Congress did not extend the benefits.

Another added factor that increases child poverty figures is the high cost of child care services, so that parents - usually mothers - are forced to leave their jobs to take care of their children, as they cannot take on the responsibility. daycare expense.

In the specific case of New York, subject to several budget cuts this year, the decrease in municipal aid to the free preschool program, known as K, is making it difficult for parents to make ends meet, in addition to compromising the education of children. minors.

Source: elparis

All life articles on 2024-02-21

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