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Thread: NYC's Middle Class

  1. #1
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    Default NYC's Middle Class

    Vanishing N.Y.C. middle class


    Study says rising costs push a decent living standard out of reach


    BY KERRY BURKE and LISA L. COLANGELO
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
    Tuesday, April 3rd 2007, 10:00 AM


    Middle Class Life

    Are you living a "middle class" life? Here's how 101 city leaders defined a middle-class existence in New York City:
    • Having health insurance
    • Having a computer and Internet access
    • Holding a steady, full-time job
    • Sending children to a high-quality neighborhood public school
    • Having a 401(k) or equivalent
    • Having after-school care for children
    • Taking annual vacations
    • Having air conditioning
    • Living alone or with a family rather than sharing housing with a roommate
    • Paying less than 30% of income for housing
    Source: The Drum Major Institute



    Everyone complains that they can't afford to live in New York anymore - and they're right.
    A new survey of city leaders estimates a family of four needs at least $75,000 a year to live a middle-class life in New York.
    And that's just the low end of the range.
    A family would have to earn as much as $135,000 to have a standard of living that would include basics, such as health insurance, and some extras, such as vacations, according to many who answered the survey "Saving Our Middle Class" by the Drum Major Institute.
    "Most people are not earning enough in New York City to make it into the middle as the consensus defines it," said John Mollenkopf of City University of New York's Center for Urban Research.
    The survey wasn't a scientific study of income and status, but its findings seemed to jibe with fears that the middle class is disappearing in New York.
    Mollenkopf, speaking at a Drum Major Institute-sponsored forum about the middle class at Baruch College yesterday, said his study of census figures from 1990 to 2005 shows increasing numbers of New Yorkers live in households making less than $30,000 or more than $250,000.
    "At one time I thought I was middle class, but not now," said Francine Long as she shopped for clothes with her 14-year-old daughter and 5-year-old nephew on 125th St. in Harlem.
    "The prices and rent went up," said Long, a 50-year-old nurse. "The buildings they are building are not for us. It's all condominiums for the rich. What they call middle class is really poor nowadays."
    The Drum Major Institute, a liberal think tank, contacted 200 city leaders to take the survey. Almost all of the 101 who responded believe it is tougher to live a middle-class life in New York today than a decade ago.
    Former Gov. Mario Cuomo recalled the 1950s and 1960s, when, he said, a $30,000 income allowed a family to have a comfortable home and a new car every two years.
    "In those years for sure you could expect to earn more than your father did," Cuomo said.
    "There was a constant escalation upward of the middle class," he added.
    Carla Burgess, a stay-at-home mom with four kids whose husband is a skilled contractor, said she was stunned to hear $75,000 was considered the low end of middle class.
    "I don't know who has that kind of money," said Burgess, who lives in Harlem. "The cost of rent, food and clothing are very expensive. It's a mystery how we make it - only by clipping coupons, waiting for sales and the grace of God."
    Yesterday's conference was also a chance for three potential mayoral candidates - city Controller William Thompson, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión - to weigh in on the subject.

  2. #2
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    I wonder, does this report pertain to ALL of nyc? Including Queens?

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    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    I would assume so. NYC is becoming rediculously unaffordable and we have talked about this in my Urban Anthrpology class, that there will only be the very rich and very poor and it seems NYC is showing that trend. It's a shame.

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    I just assumed the article portrayed Manhattan's middle class due to the 2 interviews done in Harlem. I don't believe $75,000 is the median income for Queens

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    Quote Originally Posted by clubBR View Post
    Vanishing N.Y.C. middle class


    Study says rising costs push a decent living standard out of reach


    BY KERRY BURKE and LISA L. COLANGELO
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
    Tuesday, April 3rd 2007, 10:00 AM


    Middle Class Life

    Are you living a "middle class" life? Here's how 101 city leaders defined a middle-class existence in New York City:
    • Having health insurance
    • Having a computer and Internet access
    • Holding a steady, full-time job
    • Sending children to a high-quality neighborhood public school
    • Having a 401(k) or equivalent
    • Having after-school care for children
    • Taking annual vacations
    • Having air conditioning
    • Living alone or with a family rather than sharing housing with a roommate
    • Paying less than 30% of income for housing
    Source: The Drum Major Institute



    Everyone complains that they can't afford to live in New York anymore - and they're right.
    A new survey of city leaders estimates a family of four needs at least $75,000 a year to live a middle-class life in New York.
    And that's just the low end of the range.
    A family would have to earn as much as $135,000 to have a standard of living that would include basics, such as health insurance, and some extras, such as vacations, according to many who answered the survey "Saving Our Middle Class" by the Drum Major Institute.
    "Most people are not earning enough in New York City to make it into the middle as the consensus defines it," said John Mollenkopf of City University of New York's Center for Urban Research.
    The survey wasn't a scientific study of income and status, but its findings seemed to jibe with fears that the middle class is disappearing in New York.
    Mollenkopf, speaking at a Drum Major Institute-sponsored forum about the middle class at Baruch College yesterday, said his study of census figures from 1990 to 2005 shows increasing numbers of New Yorkers live in households making less than $30,000 or more than $250,000.
    "At one time I thought I was middle class, but not now," said Francine Long as she shopped for clothes with her 14-year-old daughter and 5-year-old nephew on 125th St. in Harlem.
    "The prices and rent went up," said Long, a 50-year-old nurse. "The buildings they are building are not for us. It's all condominiums for the rich. What they call middle class is really poor nowadays."
    The Drum Major Institute, a liberal think tank, contacted 200 city leaders to take the survey. Almost all of the 101 who responded believe it is tougher to live a middle-class life in New York today than a decade ago.
    Former Gov. Mario Cuomo recalled the 1950s and 1960s, when, he said, a $30,000 income allowed a family to have a comfortable home and a new car every two years.
    "In those years for sure you could expect to earn more than your father did," Cuomo said.
    "There was a constant escalation upward of the middle class," he added.
    Carla Burgess, a stay-at-home mom with four kids whose husband is a skilled contractor, said she was stunned to hear $75,000 was considered the low end of middle class.
    "I don't know who has that kind of money," said Burgess, who lives in Harlem. "The cost of rent, food and clothing are very expensive. It's a mystery how we make it - only by clipping coupons, waiting for sales and the grace of God."
    Yesterday's conference was also a chance for three potential mayoral candidates - city Controller William Thompson, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión - to weigh in on the subject.
    my friends and i have been saying this for the last 10-15 years. i know that i could never have grown up in manhattan on the comparable salary that my dad made (too many years ago to be mentioned here). forget being able to live the lifestyle we had back then on $75,000 a year now. that's an absolute joke. the place we lived as a family is now 8 separate apartments each one costing a small fortune. what the article doesn't say is that this is most apparant in nyc and a handful of other cities, but it's the way the whole economy is going. on every level the middle class is being squeezed one way or the other, most getting much poorer. anyone who's taken economics 101 knows that a democracy is only as strong as it's middle class. can you say "let them eat cake?"

  6. #6

    Unhappy middle class? really?

    My husband and I are leaving New York. The rent here is just too expensive. There is no way to live well and have a good quality of life. I am an editor, freelancer writer, he is a musician from NO, we work 6 days a week, and half of the money we make goes to pay the rent. And we live in Queens...nothing fancy...It seems this is a city for doctors, bz people, lawers...all our friends are working part time, nobody has paid vacations, health plans, I really don't know how people are able to have kids and send them to school. I am from Brazil and I sometimes I think I am living in a developing world - where the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. Good education and health plan are for the ones who have money. I have the European citzenship (among the Brazilian and the American US) and I plan to move back to Europe. There is no way we could send our kids to college (unless they graduate with a huge debt)....by the way, why is education treated like a bz in this country?????

  7. #7

    Unhappy middle class? really?

    My husband and I are leaving New York. The rent here is just too expensive. There is no way to live well and have a good quality of life. I am an editor, freelancer writer, he is a jazz musician from NO, we work 6 days a week, and half of the money we make goes to pay the rent. And we live in Queens...nothing fancy...It seems this is a city for doctors, bz people, lawers...all our friends are working part time, nobody has paid vacations, health plans, I really don't know how people are able to have kids and send them to school. I am from Brazil and I sometimes I think I am living in a developing world - where the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. Good education and health plan are for the ones who have money. I have the European citzenship (among the Brazilian and the American US) and I plan to move back to Europe. There is no way we could send our kids to college (unless they graduate with a huge debt)....by the way, why is education treated like a bz in this country?????

  8. #8

    Default the same in Queens

    Astoria is getting more and more expensive.
    every month, the rent is going up..."professional couples" are moving to Astoria to run away from the rent in the city....you used to find one bedroom apts for 1,000 two years ago. Now they cost around 1400....
    bad news!

  9. #9

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    This is something the city has to get on the ball about quick while their is still time. We need NYCHA to start building middle income projects (40-120K) where people can own their homes and get a foothold in this city. I would fully support bringing back the era of building government housing projects for the middle class (with very different architectural astecthics of course)



    And upzone some of those outer boroughs dammit!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Empire State View Post
    This is something the city has to get on the ball about quick while their is still time. We need NYCHA to start building middle income projects (40-120K) where people can own their homes and get a foothold in this city. I would fully support bringing back the era of building government housing projects for the middle class (with very different architectural astecthics of course)



    And upzone some of those outer boroughs dammit!!!!!
    The problem is that the states huge social program spending only helps welfare individuals and not the working class poor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Empire State View Post
    We need NYCHA to start building middle income projects (40-120K) where people can own their homes and get a foothold in this city.
    Middle income is 40-120k?? I would never have believed anything over 100k was middle class. The world has changed

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    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    See here in Jersey City they are replacing housing projects with attractive row and towhouses for low-mid class families that intergrated into the existing neighrborhood and street grid and not isolated and cut off from the city. They are very attractive and constructed well.

    This is being done in cities across the country I don't see why NYC doesn't do the same. If they are can someone point it out, because I must be missing it as I travel throughout the city.

  13. #13
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gebebop View Post

    ...why is education treated like a bz in this country?????
    Because EVERYTHING is treated like business in the USA. Health care. Education. Faith. Those with MBAs have taken charge. The bean counters rule.

    It isn't what many had in mind for this country when she started out, but those with the cash have always been in charge -- and they have successfully forced their ways upon us.

  14. #14
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCMAN320 View Post
    See here in Jersey City they are replacing housing projects with attractive row and towhouses for low-mid class families that intergrated into the existing neighrborhood and street grid and not isolated and cut off from the city. They are very attractive and constructed well.
    This is being done in cities across the country I don't see why NYC doesn't do the same. If they are can someone point it out, because I must be missing it as I travel throughout the city.
    It's a lot easier to do that in JC. You can't just build something that easily in this city.

    Very few communities are receptive to lots of new construction and they are equally wary of seeing lots of new people coming into their own backyards.

    They don't like high density, they don't like large scale projects. They want lots of light and air, open spaces and charming neighborhoods.

    Well, in a growing, ever-popular city, if you want all that by placing strict policies on growth and development, then you're going to have to pay because you can't have all that and expect it to be cheap, too.

    New Yorkers are really their own worst enemy.

  15. #15

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    No.

    The city should basically upzone everywhere, and basically get out of the developers' way. They (the developers) would be more than happy to overbuild, which would drive down the cost of housing. But the various city regulations (zoning, landmarking, rent regulation, etc) make it difficult and expensive to develope the large amounts of new housing we need.

    For example, there should be no neighborhood in NYC, where midrise multifamily housing (ie apartment buildings) shouldn't be allowed. The city is surrounded by counties full of SF houses. We don't need them here. Let them be replaced with apartments. But what's happening is that the nimbys in the outer boroughs are whining about how the character of their pseudo-suburban neighborhoods are getting ruined (ruined as defined by simply changing). They bitch and moan to their local community boards and coucilcritters, who dutifully push through a downzoning.

    The above is only mone example of how the city shoots itself in the foot with housing. In the mean time we're going to have to figure out where ot put another million people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empire State View Post
    This is something the city has to get on the ball about quick while their is still time. We need NYCHA to start building middle income projects (40-120K) where people can own their homes and get a foothold in this city. I would fully support bringing back the era of building government housing projects for the middle class (with very different architectural astecthics of course)



    And upzone some of those outer boroughs dammit!!!!!

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