At yesterday’s State of the City speech, City Council Speaker and presumptive mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn laid out her plans for the city and the city’s middle class. But at the same time, her office released a report on the “Middle Class Squeeze” and if you wanted to be depressed about the status of the not-super-rich in the Big Apple, well, there are lots of charts! We collected a few of the most important ones.
But first, let’s define the “middle class.” For the Council’s purpose they went with households with incomes between 100 percent and 300 percent of the area median income. Here in New York that means income between $66,400 and $199,200. Lower Middle Class would be $53,120 to $66,400 and Low Income would be anything below $53,120.
The good news? Turns out that between 1989 and 2012 the city’s middle class population has actually grown by 129,000 adults. Great! Except actually the percentage of the class in the working age population has been dropping and, oh yeah, since 2001 the median middle class income in the city has actually been dropping:
Meanwhile, as the median income is dropping, turns out the middle class was especially hurt by the recession. While historically the middle class unemployment rate is quite low it has risen dramatically since the 2008 recession kicked in (and this even taking into account those who simply stopped looking for work):
Want further proof of that? Just look at this chart showing change in employment numbers for “typically” middle class jobs in the past decade!
Oh, and while all that was happening? Members of the middle class have just been getting smarter and smarter (and deeper in debt). The percentage of the middle class in NYC with a college or higher education is currently closing in on 50 percent:
Still not nervous about the viability of your plan to live long term in the City That Never Sleeps without sleeping with a sugar daddy? Take a nice long look at how New York City’s housing costs as a percentage of total income compares to other parts of the country
Or just look at this index comparing individual borough’s housing costs to cities around the country: