October 6, 2020
New data from the Census Bureau reinforce a disturbing trend: over the last decade, New York City’s income inequality worsened. That is, the growth of incomes at the top continued to outpace growth at the bottom, expanding the gap between. Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York’s (CCC) analysis illustrates how rising inequality placed low-income families and children at far greater risk than the highest-income families, driving the inequities at the core of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has entrenched extreme inequalities in New York City. Insecurities surrounding employment, health, education and basic safety are affecting many New Yorkers today, but they are disproportionately experienced in communities with the lowest incomes. The sheer rate of COVID-related deaths is more than two times higher in zip codes with very high poverty rates (where 272 out of every 100,000 residents have died) than in zip codes with low poverty rates (125 out of 100,000). New Yorkers with the lowest incomes are feeling the impact of the pandemic on all sides—living in fear of eviction, struggling to put food on the table, and having trouble getting devices to support remote learning for their children.
To overcome the wounds of this public health crisis, the City and State need additional funding to address the social and economic vulnerabilities that existed prior to the pandemic, are heightened now, and risk widening income inequality even further.