Income distribution, inequality and poverty

Testimony at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2015-2016 Executive Budget – Human Services

February 4, 2015. Submitted by Elizabeth McNichol, FPI Senior Fellow. Testimony includes: recommendations for the 2015-2016 state fiscal year; a summary and analysis of actual and proposed reductions in Human Services spending; use of federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding in the 2015-2016 Executive Budget; and, the impact of decline in the purchasing power of the monthly cash assistance grant.… (read more)

New York’s Top 1% See All Income Gains Since Recession

January 26, 2015. The incomes of the top 1 percent in New York State were nearly 50 times more than the bottom 99 percent in 2012, according to new analysis published by the Economic Policy Institute for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN). The Fiscal Policy Institute is a founding member of the EARN network. In The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2012, economists Estelle Sommelier and Mark Price update their analysis … (read more)

NYC Median Family Income Up for First Time since Great Recession

October 15, 2014. After five years of decline, median family income in New York City rose by 3.5 percent between 2012 and 2013 in inflation-adjusted terms, according to recently-published Census data.[1] This compares with increases of 0.9 percent at the national level and 1.6 percent for all of New York State, including the city.

While the city’s increase far surpassed the nation’s and state’s, median family income in the city was still 5.2 percent lower in 2013 than it … (read more)

Hundreds of thousands of low-income families would benefit from a New York minimum wage increase

July 17, 2014. David Neumark’s piece in the July 6 Wall Street Journal (“Who Really Gets the Minimum Wage?”) argues that because some low-wage earners are in high-income families, increasing the minimum wage isn’t a very effective way to reduce poverty. In particular, he cites research to the effect that “if we were to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 nationally, 18% of the benefits of the higher wages (holding employment fixed) would go to poor families [but] 29% would … (read more)

New report confirms New York’s profound income polarization

February 19, 2014. A new report from the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) that presents data on income distribution trends for all 50 states from 1917-2011, confirms an analysis of income trends in New York that the Fiscal Policy Institute initially published in 2010. The report, by economists Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price, builds on a groundbreaking study by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanual Saez in 2003 that used data from income tax returns to document rising inequality in … (read more)

Testimony at the New York City Council Education and Women’s Issues Committees

February 11, 2014. James Parrott testified before the New York City Council Education and Women’s Issues Committees on Feb. 11, 2014, on the subject of Mayor deBlasio’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten and After-School Proposals. Parrott supported the notion that there should be a dedicated funding stream to pay for these proposals financed by an increase in the top rate on the City’s personal income tax. He examined the proposed increase in historical perspective, reviewed the issue of migration in response to local … (read more)

The Taxpayer Costs of Low-Wage Fast Food Jobs in New York State

October 16, 2013. Fast food jobs are by far the biggest source of job growth in New York State and New York City in this recovery and over the past decade. But, with a median hourly pay of only $8.90 an hour in NYC, this growth in fast food jobs is one of the reasons that poverty has risen sharply during the recovery.

NYC has a record number of working poor—one out of every 10 workers in NYC works, … (read more)

Media coverage of FPI’s research on inequality during the NYC mayoral campaign

October 9, 2013. Income inequality has emerged as a major issue in the 2013 New York City mayoral campaign, and media coverage has frequently included mention of FPI’s research on income polarization.

FPI’s work featured prominently in a special issue of The Nation devoted to The Gilded City in April, with several graphics based on FPI’s research. The lead article in The Nation’s special issue featured FPI’s latest estimates of the share of income in New York State and City … (read more)

While Some Improvement Crept in during 2012, NYC’s Family Incomes and Poverty Status are Still Much Worse than before the Recession

September 20, 2014. The latest data from the Census Bureau for 2012 show that while NYC median family incomes and poverty stabilized last year, we are still a very long way from undoing the deterioration caused by the 2008-09 recession. Most NYC families have been battered by the recession and the historically weak recovery. Adjusted for inflation, median family incomes dipped slightly in 2012 (but not significantly) and are $3,800 or 6.5% below the 2008 level. Nationally, inflation-adjusted median … (read more)

Children in upstate cities are the losers as poverty remains high in New York

September 19, 2013. Poverty remained high at 16 percent and incomes stagnant in New York last year, showing the continuing pain of the recession and underscoring the need for New York to do more to help struggling people and give them the tools to lift themselves out of poverty. Over 3 million people in New York lived under the federal poverty level in 2012 when no statistically significant change in the overall poverty rate occurred from 2011, according to new … (read more)