On Tuesday, a report released claims that New York City is facing the worst affordability crisis in the last twenty years.
According to the report, half of the households in the city lacked the income to pay their rent comfortably, buy food, and acquire basic medical treatment and transportation.
Public officials are worried about the sharp decline in public school enrollment, which intensified during the pandemic and increased when Black families started moving out of the city due to the high cost of living.
While both Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul have prioritized addressing the issue of affordability, it is uncertain if they will be able to make significant changes.
In the most recent state budget talks, Hochul’s drive to increase home construction across the state seems to have fallen short.
The survey found that nearly 80% of households that did not earn enough to cover the minimal cost of living in the city ultimately spent more than 30% of their income on housing.
Food costs have been progressively rising amid persistent inflation, and authorities with the public transit system have issued warnings about impending rate increases.
According to the report, the situation for New Yorkers is considerably worse than it was during the pandemic’s lowest point. Just over a third of city households, according to the 2021 report, could not keep up with the cost of living at the time; this number has since increased.
This year’s report reflects the difficulties that low-income New Yorkers have had since the withdrawal of safety net programs from the pandemic, like stimulus checks and child tax credits.
In the last two decades, the cost of living, with this year, saw the highest percentage of households in the city having trouble paying for necessities.
The survey concluded that to afford housing, food, and transportation as well as to have a chance of being able to make future plans, households in all five boroughs needed to be making at least $100,000 annually.
Families with two adults and two children are required to make at least $150,000 combined in southern Manhattan, which is home to some of the most expensive ZIP codes in the nation.
The most recent Census statistics showed that the city’s actual median household income was somewhere near $70,000.
“People are doing everything they were told to do,” said Lisette Nieves, president of the Fund for the City of New York, but they still cannot afford to live here. “I feel like we’re representing a broken contract with people,” she added, noting that many working families end up in homeless shelters.
According to the report, the affordability situation is most urgent for non-white residents. The central Bronx has the highest rates of economic instability, with Latino, Black, and immigrant New Yorkers feeling the brunt of the affordability crisis.
Additionally, more than 85% of homes with small children cared for by a single mother could not afford basic necessities.