Bloomberg Touts Legacy-Saving Poverty Report

NEW YORK

A new analysis by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finds the city’s poverty rate has held steady since 2000, the only large U.S. city not to see a spike in the statistic.

The survey, released Thursday by the city’s Center for Economic Opportunity and culled from U.S. Census data, was touted by Bloomberg after a Democratic primary to replace him highlighted income inequality and mentions of a “tale of two New Yorks.”

The review found that the nation’s largest city maintained a 21.2 percent poverty rate in the 12-year span, which began two years before Bloomberg took office. But poverty rates in the country’s 19 other largest cities increased on average by 36 percent.

The survey found the poverty rate increases ranged from 3 percent in El Paso, Tex., to 88 percent in Indianapolis, Ind. Nationwide, the poverty rate as a whole increased by 28 percent during the period.

“I think it’s fair to say that no American city has battled poverty more directly, or with more determination and innovation, than New York,” Bloomberg said in a speech touting the report. “And while poverty in our city is still much too high, there is no doubt that — without the extraordinary investments we’ve made — it would be much higher.”

However, while the poverty numbers since 2000 held steady, they did give a slight jump in 2012 from previous years.

The poverty rate was 20.9 percent in 2011 and 20.1 percent in 2010, before taking a slight leap in 2012 back to the 21.2 percent it was in 2000.

In real life, that meant that 1.7 million of the 8.3 million New Yorkers were living below the federal poverty level, an increase of about 600,000 from 2000.

Bloomberg addressed those statistics in his speech.

“Of course poverty is still too high here,” he said. “And keeping poverty from going up is not enough — we all know that. But having no increase in poverty is a lot better than the significant increases every other major American city has experienced.”

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