Bronx USA Family Waiting for Bus

Fully 50 percent of New York City households lack the income to pay rent, buy enough food, afford health care, and to pay the costs of transport around the city, according to a report released 25 April by the nonprofit Fund for the City of New York and the United Way of New York City.

The share of households reporting such straits is the highest since the annual survey began in 2003, the agencies said.

The city is seeing an acute crisis in affordable housing, The New York Times reported. Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul have pledged to make solving the housing crisis a priority but have made no progress so far.

Almost 80 percent of the households unable to meet the basic costs of living in the city use more than 30 percent of their incomes to pay housing costs, the report found.

At the same time, food prices have soared and public transport agencies have warned of impending fare increases.

More than half of households falling behind had at least one working adult with some college, a degree, or even an advanced degree, the study reported.

In all five of the city’s boroughs, households needed to be earning at least $100,000 a year to be able to afford basic necessities, according to the report. In the south end of Manhattan, which is among the costliest places to live in the U.S., the essential income rises to $150,000.

However, the city’s median household income is closer to $70,000, U.S. census bureau data shows.

During the worst of the COVID era, about 30 percent of the city’s households reported being unable to keep up with living costs.

TRENDPOST: Our 8 January 2022 article told the story: “Middle Class? Forget About It. Americans Need $128,000 a Year to Feel Financially Secure” (18 Jan 2022).

“The average annual household income Americans would need to feel financially secure is $128,000, according to a new survey of 2,000 adults by Personal Capital and the Harris Poll,” we noted.

“That figure is nearly double the median household income of $67,521, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau,” we wrote.

Now, it seems, Americans need that amount not only to feel financially secure but to be financially secure.

“A $100,000 annual household income, thought not long ago to be a ticket to the upper middle class, can no longer guarantee the ‘American Dream’ of a single-family home in the suburbs, two cars in the garage, a child or two, and a college fund for the kids, according to a recent analysis by Business Insider,” we reported in “$100,000 Income, Chump Change? Can’t Afford the American Dream?” (11 Jan 2022).

It should not be a surprise that younger Americans reject the idea of owning a home or owning much at all, striving on the job, and planning for a rosy financial future. They have lived through too many economic and career disappointments to believe that sacrifice now will bring rewards later.

The result is younger Americans’ embrace of progressive political values, in which costs of higher education, child care, and health insurance are widely shared.

The lack of affordability is shifting the center of gravity in American politics to the left.

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