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New tool illustrates NYC’s growing affordability crisis

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New Yorkers have less money to save up for the future than they did 10 years ago

Max Touhey

New Yorkers are finding it harder to save up for the future or make provisions for a rainy day, a new report put out by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, has revealed. Stringer’s office has created a tool that it’s calling the Affordability Index; this instrument tracks how much money NYC households have leftover after they’ve paid taxes and spent money on basic necessities like food, rent, and child care, among others.

A searing fact that stood out from the report was that New Yorkers today have less money to spend after paying for basic necessities than they had 10 years ago. The report looked at income, expenditures, and the growing cost of basic necessities between 2005-2016. While incomes generally increased across the board for the types of families this study took into account, the cost of basic needs increased at a much higher rate.

“Over the last decade, the money that New Yorkers could be putting away – for retirement, for college, or even for a simple family night out – has been shrinking,” said Stringer, in a statement. “Our growing affordability crisis is making it harder for families to enjoy a basic middle-class lifestyle – and is forcing them to choose between staying in New York City and leaving.”

For its study, Stringer’s office looked at four types of households: single adults, married couples with no children, single parents with two children, and married couples with two children. Single parents were the most burdened in the group; the cost of basic needs surpassed income levels by nearly 25 percent in 2016, according to the report. In 2005, it was 20 percent.

Some of the largest basic cost increases have come in median rents, which increased an average of 4 percent every year since 2005; child care costs, which have increased 3.2 percent every year from 2005-2016; and health care costs, which increased 5-6 percent every year, in the same time frame.

“We need to use every tool in the kit to tackle this crisis head-on,” said Stringer, in a statement. “From building the next generation of affordable housing to addressing the rising cost of child care, we have to take a stand and make sure everyone gets a fair shot to succeed in New York.”

Head on over to the interactive Affordability Index to find out our more about rising costs and their burden on New Yorkers. The Comptroller’s office plans to update this index annually.