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Federal Census Data Shows Growing Income Gap In New York City

Data Also Shows City Regained All Jobs Lost In Recession
Mayor Bloomberg at news conference (file/credit: Edward Reed/Mayor's Office)

Mayor Bloomberg at news conference (file/credit: Edward Reed/Mayor’s Office)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The latest U.S. Census figures showed that in New York City last year, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

The wage gap is the largest it has been in a decade, according to the data.

The data also showed that nearly 21% of New Yorkers, or roughly 11.7 million city residents, live in poverty.

The income gap was most apparent in Manhattan, where the wealthiest 20% of Manhattanites make more than 40 times what the lowest 20% earn, according to the data.

EXTRA: Read Census Report

The median household income in New York was $49,461 in 2011, compared with the national figure of $50,502, according to statistics from the 2011 American Community Survey.

WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reports

Deputy mayor Linda Gibbs said the income gap is a problem the Bloomberg administration has to focus on.

“We need to continue our economic development strategies and all of our job training and engagement work so that people who are at least able to get those jobs that are appearing in the city can have a better chance of getting them and we need to continue those strategies that bring new employment and job growth to the city as a whole,” Gibbs told reporters including 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

But the administration pointed out that a wage gap is nothing new.

“This issue of income inequality is one that is now three decades in the making. Since the late 70s, early 80s, we’ve seen a growth nationally in the income gap between the richest and the poorest,” Gibbs told reporters including WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb.

“Unless you’re in a Communist-controlled economy where everybody is guaranteed to have an equal wage regardless of ability or effort, you’re going to have some difference between those who make less and those who make more. So it is by definition ever-present,” said Gibbs.

The latest census figures also showed that the city regained all the jobs lost in the recession, which officially ended in 2009.

“It’s something that we continue to work on by bringing more jobs, more technology jobs for instance, in the city. More health care industry jobs, trying to focus on employment that will provide good, decent wages,” Gibbs said.

The administration also pointed out that the income gap is a national problem.

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