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Loss of low- and middle-income residents threatens New York City economic recovery

THURSDAY, MAR 21, 2024

New York City’s economy is going very big and might be losing small. That’s not good. 

A study reported by The New York Times found lower- and middle-income residents are leaving the city. Families making between $32,000 and $65,000 were most likely to move, followed by people earning between $104,000 and $172,000. The median household income in the nation’s largest city was $75,000 in 2022.

But even as 2,400 millionaires fled the state between 2020 and 2022, strong financial markets added 15,100 new seven-digit households to the city’s population. 

Andrew Beveridge, president and co-founder of Social Explorer, told the newspaper that a continued loss of low- and middle-income residents could affect the city’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by limiting the supply of workers who provide a wide array of services, especially to wealthier New Yorkers.

“If you want a subway system, and office sector, a restaurant industry,” he said, “you need these people.”

Although conventional wisdom argues that the wealthiest New York residents have left the city because of high taxes, the study by the Fiscal Policy Institute found they departed because they could work remotely and afford to relocate.

The departure of wealthy New Yorkers leaves the city with a potentially smaller revenue base that is likely to result in cuts to services that include police, sanitation, and schools that help make the city affordable for low- and middle-income residents.

The study’s findings were based on data from New York State and the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The Census survey is a major element of Social Explorer, an award-winning, online mapping and reporting tool that allows users to customize demographic reports based on specific criteria such as income, housing, age, and race/ethnicity, down to extremely granular geographies that include states, counties, cities, neighborhoods, and even blocks.

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