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Despite Growing Income Inequality, Rents Continue to Rise

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The Furman Center at NYU has released a report on the state of New York City's housing and neighborhoods in 2013, and its findings are not particularly surprising. The study concludes that since the 1990's, inequality has become more pronounced throughout the city, with the percentage of households earning $250,000 or more per year growing from three percent to five percent from 1990 to 2012, while the share of households earning $40,000 or less per year grew from 35 percent to 40 percent. As inequality grows and rents creep upward—median rents rose 11 percent from 2005 to 2012, while the median household income rose only two percent—so too does the percentage of households burdened by their rent.

Between 2000 and 2012 the median income of renter households in New York City declined while the median rent rose. As a result, in 2012, a larger proportion of New York City households were rent burdened, paying 30 percent or more of their income to rent and utilities, in 2012 than a decade earlier. More than half (54%) of all renter households were rent burdened, up from 43 percent in 2000. Nearly one-third of New York City renter households were severely rent burdened, spending at least half of their income on rent and utilities, in 2012. Rent burdens were especially severe for low-income households: more than three-quarters of low income households were rent burdened and nearly half (47%) experienced a severe rent burden. Along with the increasing difference in income distribution, the city's neighborhoods have become more prone to economic insolation, meaning high-income households have become increasingly less likely since 1990 to live in the same neighborhoods as middle- and low-income households. Nearly half of households with incomes in the top ten percent, earning over $162,000 annually, lived in Manhattan in 2012, a sizable increase from the 40 percent in 1990. Got all that?

· State of the City's Housing and Neighborhoods [official]
· NYU Furman Center [official]