Half of NYC residents cannot afford basic needs

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

New York City, known to be an expensive place to live in, is currently facing one of its highest affordability crisis in the last two decades, according to a report.     

Fund for the City of New York, a nonprofit organization, published a report that found over 50% of city households with members of working age are not able to keep up with basic needs on a financial level.

One contributor to the unaffordability in the city is the housing crisis. New York is facing a shortage of affordable housing units, The New York Times reported.

The fund’s report said households would need an annual income of at least $100,000 in order to pay for food, housing and transportation costs. A family with four members would need an annual income of $150,000.

The study surveyed over 2.6 million working households in the New York City area, an increase from when the study was first conducted in 2021.

It also found that 80% of households that did not generate enough income to meet the minimum cost of living contributed more than 30% of their income to housing costs.

Grace Bonilla, the president and CEO of United Way of NYC, asked New York residents to not place the blame on themselves.

“What I would say to the average New Yorker is it’s not your imagination and it’s not your fault,” Bonilla told ABC7 Eyewitness News.

Lisette Nieves, the president of Fund for the City of New York, urged New York policymakers to adhere to the data found in the report. She added that the group laid “the foundation for change and is a powerful policy tool.”

“New York City can’t afford to maintain the status quo when 50% of working-age households struggle to make ends meet,” Nieves said in a press release. “We urge policymakers and employers to use this report as a guide to develop solutions that will lead to a stronger, healthier, more equitable New York.”

The report said households with children are at a higher risk of not meeting their financial needs.

In other demographic groups, people of color, single mothers and immigrants faced the most financial challenges in New York City.

For people of color, Hispanic people comprised the greatest share of who could not meet affordability in New York City at 65%. Additionally, 60% of Native American households, 58% of Black households and 51% of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander households also struggled with affordability.

The areas with the highest rates of income poverty were in the Bronx. The neighborhoods included Belmont, Concourse, Crotona Park East, East Tremont, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Melrose and Morris Heights. The two Brooklyn neighborhoods with high poverty rates were Brownsville and Ocean Hill.

The report previously acquired data from the 2021 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as data from the New York State Child Care Market Rate Survey, the Office of Children and Family Services and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This year’s report used data from the 2023 New York City True Cost of Living, which was renamed from the Self-Sufficiency Standard for New York City.

Based on its findings, the Fund for the City of New York provided recommendations, including wage increases to aid New York residents struggling amid rising costs and better access to benefits for New York residents.