New York City's Fleeting Middle Class, Broken Down

A new study shows that New York City is losing is middle class, and quick. However, says one planner, the findings, though detailed, don't give the big picture.
February 6, 2009, 10am PST | Judy Chang
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"'What they're doing in the report is looking at domestic outflow by itself,' [Joe Salvo, director of the New York City Department of Planning's population divions] said. 'You can't do that.'

'We have a dynamic operating here,' he said. 'People who come and people who leave, they come from everywhere and they go everywhere.'

He said if outmigration were a problem, it would be visible in the boroughs outside Manhattan."

"The sky-high cost of living in the city is the lead driving force behind the squeeze on the middle class, the report argues. City residents pay among the highest prices in the nation for electricity, telephone service, auto insurance, home heating oil, parking and milk-and those prices continue to rise. Combined state and local taxes are tops among major cities, and housing is the most expensive. In the third quarter of 2008, only 10.6% of all housing in New York City was deemed affordable to people earning the median area income. And average rents in the fourth quarter were $2,801, or 53% higher than in San Francisco, the city with the second-highest figure, the report shows."

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Published on Thursday, February 5, 2009 in Crain's New York Business
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