By Staff –
New York is finally seeing poverty rates edge downward, although the state’s poverty rates remain higher than they were before the Great Recession, a new report released by Citizen Action of New York and the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) stated.
New York’s poverty rate was 14.7 percent in 2016, down from 15.4 percent in 2015 and from 15.9 percent in 2014, the groups said.
In addition, the poverty rate declined to 14.0 percent in 2016, down from 14.7 percent in 2015, and from a high of 15.9 percent in 2012.
However, according to Citizen Action and CHN, state and federal government officials can, and should, do more.
“New York is making modest progress in reducing poverty, but we can and must do better,” Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizens Action of New York, stated. “With job growth continuing and with strong federal and state programs for low-income New Yorkers, we are in an excellent position to reduce poverty more substantially. There are 2.8 million New Yorkers living in poverty who are counting on us to succeed. Now is the time to invest in these programs, and build on the positive momentum rather than reduce funding.”
In addition, CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein said many New Yorkers have been lifted out of poverty by programs such as housing assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), low-income tax credits and assistance for people with disabilities.
“But now these very programs are on the chopping block,” she stated. “The budget passed by Congress and backed by the White House would cut billions of dollars from these very programs. Such cuts would cause millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to suffer in poverty and near poverty.”
Here are some additional findings from the report, “Poverty and Progress: The State of Being Poor in New York and New Threats Ahead:”
- Several communities of color saw improvements in poverty rates: 21.1 percent of African Americans, and 24.2 percent of Latinos in New York lived in poverty in 2016, down from 22.6 percent and 25.5 percent in 2015, respectively. Both communities saw poverty rates return to pre-recession levels, showing that progress has been made. However, communities of color still remain disproportionately affected by poverty; the poverty rate among non-Hispanic whites in 2016 was 9.6 percent, and latinos are poorer in New York than in the U.S. overall.
- New York has made progress in lowering the child poverty rate, which stood at 20.7 percent in 2016, down from 2015 when it was 22.0 percent, and down from 2013 when it was 22.8 percent. Tragically, children remain more likely to be poor in the U.S. than any other age group. As with adults, children of color experience poverty at much higher rates than their white peers. In fact, African-American and Latino children are more than twice as likely to be poor as white children. In 2016, 13.3 percent of non-Hispanic white children in New York lived in poverty, compared with 29.3 percent of African-American children, and 31.5 percent of Latino children.
- New York also has made progress in the number of people with health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and New York’s decision to use federal dollars available to the state to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income adults. In New York, 6.1 percent of the population was uninsured in 2016, down from 10.7 percent in 2013. Nationally, the uninsured rate in 2016 was 8.8 percent, down from 9.1 percent in 2015.
According to both groups, it’s important for government officials to continue to support any legislation that will continue to lift disadvantaged communities out of poverty.
Visit https://www.chn.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Poverty-and-Progess-in-New-York.pdf to view the organizations’ full report.