NEW YORK CITY'S MIDDLE CLASS IS VOTING WITH THEIR FEET
New York City's 700,000 middle class families are being squeezed as never before, and they are leaving.
Although their earnings are far higher than the US middle-class average, their cost of living expenses far exceed the national average.
A family of four in the five boroughs is considered middle class with a median income of $105,000, and the figure for a single is $67,500, according to the Drum Major Institute.
As most city residents know, the city is far more expensive to live in than any other US city. A NYC household earning $80,000 would not have the comforts of living; in fact it would barely cover basic needs.
The city's middle class wealth is tied to home values, yet the average home sale price in New York City dropped 22 percent in the last year, according to the Real Estate Board of New York.
"The New York area [home price decline] has gone from a moderate level to an elevated level because of the big hit from the financial crisis," LaVaughn Henry, senior economist at PMI, the fourth-largest US mortgage insurer, told Bloomberg.
The outer boroughs have lost more than 40,000 families where a member held a bachelor's degree - a factor in determining middle-class status, in 2007, according to the Center for an Urban Future.
More than 151,000 middle-class residents left the city in 2006 alone, according to the study. Many have opted to take the much longer commute from the Poconos or Philadelphia in order to live middle-class lives.
A union job was once considered the entry point to a middle class lifestyle in the city. But as a result of the rising cost of living, the city's largest municipal union, DC 37, is campaigning to exclude its members from city residency requirements in future contracts.
Me? I got smart. I have managed to remain in the city by dropping out of the troubled Middle Class and joining the growing poor. All in one year!