ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Nearly 14% of New Yorkers are living in poverty, according to a 40 page report released by the States Comptroller’s Office Thursday morning. The report shows New Yorkers’ poverty rates are higher than the national average.
The office defines poverty as when a “person or household doesn’t have the financial resources to meet basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and access to a minimum standard of living.”
The report says the COVID-19 pandemic only deepened financial stress for New Yorkers. While many people have returned to their jobs, inflation has made the cost of living more difficult.
Groups with the highest levels of poverty include:
- Female heads of household and children – these households experience poverty at twice the rate of all families and four times that of a married couple.
- Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Pacific Islanders
- People with disabilities and people with less than a high school education
And which parts of New York are being hit the hardest? “We have some counties that are under ten percent in terms of the poverty rate and then a single county where the poverty rate is almost 25%, so it really varies throughout counties but tends to be higher in cities,” said Deputy Comptroller, Maria Doulis.
Some of those cities are Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, where one in four people are poor. However, Doulas said despite these numbers, New York has a robust safety net, “And most of it is provided by the federal government and appropriately so, right because this is a nationwide issue and the federal government has the greatest number of resources to be able to really address it effectively.” Doulis said some programs available include cash assistance for families, food benefits, tax credits and the Medicaid program.
Speaker Carl Heastie says affordability is on the 2023 session agenda, “Affordability I think you will see is gonna be one of the big previews that I can already tell you that the assembly is going to want to focus on. But we have to figure out a more, longer, more sustainable way that New Yorkers, not be coming in an unaffordable place or a more unaffordable place.”