The Social Assistance subsector includes workers who provide direct and vital social assistance services to consumers, including vulnerable and at-risk populations and communities. It consists of the following industry groups: Individual and Family ServicesCommunity Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief ServicesVocational Rehabilitation ServicesChild Day Care Services.1

In 2019, there were nearly 380,000 people estimated to be employed in New York’s social assistance subsector by not-for-profit, government, and private employers, 133,000 of whom (35 percent) were employed by not-for-profits. In New York State, total not-for-profit employment is largest in the Individual and Family Services and Child and Day Care Services industries.

Within the Social Assistance subsector, 2019 average annual wages were $31,545, growing only 17 percent from $26,149 in 2010.2  A larger share of not-for-profit Social Assistance workers, when compared with workers employed by state and local government, earn less than the average annual wage. 

  • 73 percent of all not-for-profit social assistance workers in New York State are women. 
  • 47 percenof the total not-for-profit social assistance workforce was comprised of 
    people ocolor, 43,000 women and 19,000 men. 
  • Of the not-for-profit workers who are women,  
    55% are white, 21% are Black, 5% are Asian,  
    2% are Two or More Races, and 16% are Hispanic/Latina.3


Use federal aid to include the statutory Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) for human services workers in the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget to help raise their wages.

Standardize administrative rates on contracts, and work with not-for-profits to determine fair rates so that they and their services are sustainable.

Make prompt contracting a priority to avoid service interruptions and provide stability to not-for-profits.

Provide capital funding for nonprofit infrastructure investments, such as new roofs or HVAC systems. These investments help not-for-profits better serve vulnerable New Yorkers.4


1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industries at a Glance.
2 New York State Department of Labor, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), NAICS Industry 624.
3 Of the 133,000 not‐for‐profit workers, it is estimated that 77 percent (102,000) worked at least 30 or more hours per week over 12 months.
4A $120 million appropriation was made in FY 2017 and was largely spent by FY 2018 with no new funding since.

by Cara Long Corra, Senior Policy Analyst, Fiscal Policy Institute.

Download the fact sheet as a PDF.