High NYC Costs Adds to Suburban Poverty

NEW YORK -

A slight increase in New York City area suburban poverty since 2000 may be blamed on the high cost of living in Brooklyn and Manhattan, a new study released Monday finds.

Experts from the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution analyzed census figures for the new report on poverty in New York and New Jersey, The New York Times reported. They said that 33 percent of suburban residents in the New York metropolitan area are living below the federal poverty level. In 2000, the figure was 29 percent.

“It seems as the city prospered and got more expensive over the 2000s, poverty crept up in a lot of the region’s older suburban communities,” Alan Berube, a deputy director of the program, said.

While traditionally the poor have been concentrated in big cities and rural America, the report’s authors say the suburbs are now home to the “fastest growing poor population in the country.”

William Rapfogel, CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, told Hamodia that a report he conducted together with the United Jewish Federation shows a similar increase in suburban poverty among the Jewish population.

“We have been getting more and more requests from counties bordering New York City,” Mr. Rapfogel said in an email. “The UJA’s community study shows an increase in both NYC and suburban poverty.”

The Met Council’s Jewish Poverty study is due for release on June 12.

While the number of poor people in New York City declined by 7 percent, or 120,000 people, the number in the suburbs rose by 14 percent, or 100,000.

Berube speculated that the increase in poverty might not be due to people moving from city to suburban neighborhoods, “but as the region creates more low-wage jobs, and attracts more new immigrants, low-income households that in the past might have located in the Bronx or Brooklyn are now settling in places like northern New Jersey and Westchester County.”

Staten Island, the only borough considered suburban in New York City, is also the only one that became poorer over the 2000s.

Poverty rates rose 18 percent in Staten Island. It declined by 11 percent in Brooklyn and by 10 percent in Manhattan. According to federal guidelines, the current poverty level for a family of four is annual income below $23,350.