from Flatbush Life
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Brooklyn has a poverty rate of 22.6 percent, the second highest rate of poverty among the city’s five boroughs.
The statistics come from the American Community Survey, the largest survey in the nation, producing socioeconomic data on topics such as income, earnings and poverty, on the same scale as the decennial census but on an annual basis.
This latest report shows the change in poverty rates and income for the U.S. population in 2006. According to the survey, poverty rates in the U.S. declined from 2005 to 2006, from 12.6 percent to 12.3 percent.
Rates in New York did not follow the same trend. In the state, they rose from 12.5 percent to 14.3 percent.
In the city, Bronx had the highest poverty rates at 29.1 percent below poverty in the past 12 months, followed by Brooklyn at 22.6 percent, Manhattan at 18.3 percent, Queens at 12.2 percent, and Staten Island with the lowest at 9.2 percent.
With 22.8 percent below the poverty line in Brooklyn for 2006, the rate is up a fraction from the 2005 ACS at 22.4 percent.
The poverty line is defined as the minimum level of income deemed necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the poverty guidelines for 2007 (which can be used for 2006) are, for $10,210 annual salary for a single person, $20,650 for a family of four.
The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, a city-wide human service organization with a membership of more than 300 agencies and churches, released the city-wide comparison in their report, “The Real Impact of Poverty,” a closer look at the 2006 Census date for the United States, New York State, and New York City.
For the FPWA, the results of the annual survey were sobering.
“The new data makes it obvious that government officials need to develop more creative approaches to reducing poverty,” said Fatima Goldman, executive director of the FPWA, in a statement released following the release of the ACS data. “Unless we begin to make substantial investments to increase the value of public benefits provided to poor families and to expand access to education and training for jobs that pay a sustainable wage, I fear that this trend may continue.”
The culprits are not hard to be found. The increasing costs of living, such as for housing, health care, child care, and transportation, are especially hard hitting for poor New York City residents and were deemed factors by the FPWA contributing to the rise in poverty rates in the city and state.
To help prevent the U.S. Census’ findings from being an unyielding trend, the FPWA recommends government leaders creating new strategies in career advancement geared towards families living below the federal poverty level to increase their earnings in order to adequately meet their basic needs.
Despite the report’s dismal findings in city poverty rates, the plight of the poor is not removed from the government’s radar.
Last month, Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced a plan to better help those living below poverty levels to rise from welfare to the middle class through initiatives such as decreasing the costs of housing and health care. The plan calls for creating an Economic Security Cabinet comprised of 17 state agencies to work towards improving opportunities for education, work and training.
At a conference detailing the plan, Gov. Spitzer said the cabinet would “special cabinet will “make certain that no New Yorker falls through the cracks.” The program, he said, is geared towards those New Yorkers who are neither middle class nor benefiting from social service programs.
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