NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – One in five New York City residents is living in poverty, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The information from the 2010 American Community Survey was released Thursday. It showed the poverty rate had increased from 18.7 percent in 2009 to 20.1 percent in 2010.
Speaking to 1010 WINS on Thursday, Theresa Hassler, of the NYC Coalition Against City Hunger, said there has been a huge increase of homeless people in the city waiting in line for food pantries and shelters.
“What has been happening is just an influx, a huge increase, in the number of people in lines at soup kitchens, food pantries. Many of the pantries and kitchens do not have enough food to meet the demand, and the demand is growing like it never has before,” she said.
Hassler said that many of the facilities in place for people living in poverty are struggling themselves and only have a certain amount of food and can’t feed everyone.
“Unfortunately, some of these pantries and kitchens don’t necessarily have an alternative plan. You know, they have a set amount of food and often they just can’t feed everyone,” she said.
David Jones, president and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York, says it’s a dangerous situation.
“The city has to be very careful of this,” he said. “This is now getting into territory we haven’t seen before.
Jones warned the increase in poverty levels could lead to civil unrest around the entire city.
“I think to his credit, the mayor has actually said what many of us have been whispering and that’s if you see these kinds of unemployment and poverty rates persist, you’re going to face potential civil disorder,” he said. “He was talking about riots and I haven’t said those words in years.”
The increase among children under 18 was even greater. The poverty rate for them hit 30 percent in 2010 from 27.1 percent in 2009.
But Jones says the poverty rate is not just going up for the chronically poor, but also for the working poor, who balanced several jobs in the past in order to make ends meet.
“The unemployment rate has remained chronically high in New York, but on top of that, the wages and hours have been reduced pretty regularly particularly for low-wage workers,” he said. “So what we’re seeing is not just an increase in the poverty rate, but an increase in the poverty rate for the people who were working one and two jobs.”
In the Garden State, census figures show New Jerseyans also had less money in their pockets in 2010.
American Community Survey estimates show the 2010 median household income in New Jersey was $67,681. That’s down 2.7 percent from the year before and 2.9 percent less than the inflation-adjusted total of $69,674 in 2006.
Median household income saw a decline in 13 of the state’s 21 counties compared with 2009. Morris and Camden sustained the biggest drops of more than 7 percent.
New Jersey remains second in the nation in terms of median household income. Maryland had the highest median income of $68,854 in 2010.
The median income in Connecticut also fell 6.1 percent last year compared with
2009, a decline that was second only to Nevada’s drop-off.
The data also showed that 10.1 percent of Connecticut residents earned below the federal poverty level in 2010, compared with 9.4 percent in 2009.
Nationwide, the poverty rate increased to 15.1 percent in 2010 for all people, up from 14.3 percent. For children under 18, it rose to 21.6 percent from 20 percent the year before.
For more from the U.S. Census Bureau, click here.
For more from the American Community Survey, click here.
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