Brooklyn households have seen a major jump in their income levels since the recession, however, that wealth is far from equally distributed, according to recent census data.
Brooklyn’s median household income hit $55,150 in 2016, jumping 14 percent since 2008, according to the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, which analyzed the annual American Community Census statistics released last week.
Apurva Mehrotra, the nonprofit’s director of research and analysis, said the borough’s progress has not benefited all of its residents. He noted that poverty levels in Brooklyn - and the city as a whole - have barely changed since the recession that began at the end of 2007. Brooklyn’s poverty rate has declined 0.5 percent since 2008.
“I doubt this increase is happening in all community districts in Brooklyn,” Mehrotra said. “This was fueled by certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn in particular.”
Mehrotra said neighborhoods like East New York and Brownsville have not seen the sort of economic boom that has played out in Park Slope and Fort Greene.
“We’re seeing some of these gains start to trickle down … but it’s been a very slow go, especially for those at the ends of the income spectrum,” Mehrotra said.
Emily Miles, the chief program and policy officer for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, was also struck by the income gap within Brooklyn. She said the issue is exacerbated by the rising cost of living in the borough.
The number of New Yorkers in poverty has not changed dramatically. Poverty increased 0.7 percent across New York City since 2008, according to the Citizens’ Committee for Children.
But Miles said there are many households that have not hit the“self sufficiency” threshold, where people can meet their basic needs without public assistance.
“When you look at self sufficiency numbers, you see a vast majority of [New Yorkers] are working individuals,” Miles said. “The problem is that they are not earning enough.”
Miles said the city should press on with programs that helpNew Yorkers get higher paying jobs and that lower their cost of living.
“I think overall these numbers point to the level of poverty going in the right direction, being reduced. We shouldn’t undersell it but we can certainly do better,” Miles said.