June 16, 2012. An article by Catherine Curan, New York Post.
The Great Recession is dealing a body blow to New York’s battered middle class.
An astonishing 55,000 families dropped out of the middle class in New York state between 2007 and 2010.
In New York City, more than 37,000 families fell to the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder in the same time period.
In 2010, there were 4.6 million families in the state and 1.2 million families in the city that were solid members of the middle class.
These sobering statistics come from a Fiscal Policy Institute analysis of census data for The Post.
The analysis looked at New Yorkers earning between $35,000 and $99,000 a year – which is considered middle class.
“The recession and weak recovery are squeezing the middle class everywhere, especially in New York City,” Fiscal Policy Institute Chief Economist James Parrott said.
“Thousands have lost the tenuous grip they had on the middle rungs and have slipped down the economic ladder,” Parrott said.
While the recession officially ended in 2009, the lackluster recovery and a host of ugly long-term economic trends are combining to continue to crush the already shaky middle class.
The underwhelming recovery is also preventing those in poverty from climbing up the ladder.
Here’s what is crushing New York’s middle class:
* Higher costs to live in New York and raise a family.
In 2008, 41 percent of New Yorker homeowners spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
Two preschoolers in a child-care center cost about $24,000 a year, or more than 30 percent of family income for a two-earner couple pulling down median wages
* Dramatically rising inequality, which is greater here than in any other state.
By 2007, the top 1 percent of earners took home 35 percent of all income earned in New York state, according to a study done by Demos, a policy research firm based in New York City.
That compares with just 10 percent of all income for this group in 1980.
* Steep declines in skilled manufacturing jobs and a huge uptick in shorter-term, lower-paying jobs.
In 1980, manufacturing jobs made up 23 percent of the total in New York, while service-sector jobs were 33 percent.
By 2010, manufacturing had plunged to 7 percent while the service sector ballooned to 48 percent.