14 July 2009

Bye Bye Middle Class

To file under "Duh," this none-too-eye-opening article in the New York Post:


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!


c'รจ montessori said...

What NY post?? The Middle Class is leaving us? Stop it with your scandal mongering and yellow journalism...

But yeah, will have lost 100s of thousands of jobs by the end of all this, as long as the cost of life stays as high as it is those families won't be able to stay in the city.

I'm also happy I've joined growing poor so I can stay...

BrooksNYC said...

Hunkering down for the long haul. Already poor, and getting poorer!

Anonymous said...

I work at a drug rehab and therefore am poor. I used to live in the city and was barely able to afford it. Now with the recession, and cost of living increases I have been forced to move out along with the rest of you. Booooooo!!!!

Ed said...

The catch 22 is getting a job. Wall Street got bailed out, other parts of the economy not so much, meaning you will have a hard time getting a job unless you stay here.

I think this is also why I'm seeing reports of businesses closing, empty restaurants, etc. in the rest of the country but everything in Manhattan seems packed.

Anonymous said...

I guess that's why Mayor Bloomberg
is encouraging the Chelsea and
mid 6th avenue building of hotels
because the real native New Yorker's of the working class will be gone?

Disgusted, but glad I will be dead of
old age soon from the changes I have
seen since Ed Koch came on board.

Ed said...

Also, this is something on which we will get more information in 2011 when the Census comes out.

The disappearance from the middle class from the city, or at least Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn, is a big deal and really should get more coverage. Its behind alot of the cultural changes we are seeing. Its also going to be masked statistically to some extent by the persistence of older people in the far outer boroughs who own their own homes. It will be interesting to see what happens when that generation passes on.