The Graduate Center Releases Report that Shows a Substantial Increase of Concentration of Income Among the Wealthiest New Yorkers, 1990-2010

Media contact: Tanya Domi, tdomi@gc.cuny.edu, 212-817-7283
The Graduate Center Releases Report that Shows a Substantial Increase of Concentration of Income Among the Wealthiest New Yorkers, 1990-2010

NEW YORK, January 8, 2014 -- The Graduate Center of the City University of New York today announced findings of a study that shows the wealthiest New Yorkers substantially increased their household incomes and grew their concentration of wealth from1990 to 2010, while during the same period, the poorest New Yorkers experienced negligible income growth.

Indeed, the upper 20 percent of all income-earning households in New York City saw their share of median income increase from 48 percent in 1990 to 54 percent in 2010.

Notably, median income of the upper one percent of all household income earned in New York City soared from $452, 000 in 1990 to $717,000 in 2010, compared to the lower 20 percent of New York City households earned median income rose only from $13,000 in 1990 to $14,000 in 2010.

“The analyzed data provide unmistakable evidence that wealthiest New Yorkers became increasingly wealthier between 1990 and 2010 and that the process of wealth concentration was evident within each major race/ethnic group in the City,” said Laird W. Bergad, Distinguished Professor of History, the Graduate Center and Lehman College, City University New York and director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies. Bergad is the author of the report.

The data indicate an extraordinary, and growing, concentration of wealth in the City at large and among each major race/ethnic group, as well as among the five largest Latino national subgroups.  The upper 20 percent of all household income earners in the City controlled 48 percent of total household income in 1990 and 54 percent in 2010.  Over the same period the lower 20 percent of all households experienced a slight decline of from 3.3 percent to 3 percent of the City’s total household income.

The report, The Concentration of Wealth in New York City Changes in the Structure of Household Income by Race/Ethnic Groups and Latino Nationalities 1990 – 2010, is based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey data issued by IPUMS USA.

For the upper 10 percent of income-earning households their median incomes rose from $205,193 to $262,010 over the same period.

This may be contrasted with the poorest New Yorkers. The lower 10 percent of households earned median household incomes of $8,468 in 1990 and $9,455 in 2010.

The process of wealth concentration in non-Hispanic white households was the most extreme in the City. By 2010 42 percent of all non-Hispanic white households earned $100,000 or more and they controlled 78 percent of total income derived by all non-Hispanic white households. By way of comparison 19 percent of Latino households, 23 percent of non-Hispanic black households, and 30 percent of Asian households were in this income category.

Additionally, it must be noted that the wealthiest non-Hispanic white households had median incomes which dwarfed those of the wealthiest households in the other race/ethnic groups. The wealthiest 10 percent of non-Hispanic white households had median incomes of $428,112 in inflation-adjusted 2012 dollars.  For Latinos in the upper 10 percent of household-income earners the median income was $173,347. It was $180,233 for non-Hispanic blacks and $228,935 for Asian households.

In actual dollar terms, households earning more than $200,000 (8 percent of all households in 2010) controlled 20 percent of the City’s total income in 1990 and 34 percent in 2010.  Households earning more than $100,000 (30 percent of all households in 2010) accounted for 58percent of total household income in 1990 and 66percent in 2010.

By way of contrast households earning less than $20,000 (16 percent of all households in 2010) earned 2.2 percent of the City’s total income in 1990 and 2 percent in 2010.  Those households earning less than $40,000 (34 percent of all households in 2010) controlled a mere 6 percent of all income in 1990 and 5.8 percent in 2010.

The Gini Index of Inequality in household income increased from .44 in 1990 to .50 in 2010, a certain statistical measure of rising income inequality.

In 2010 non-Hispanic white households controlled 51 percent of the City’s household income although they comprised 37percent of all households.  Latino households, 26 percent of the total, earned 18 percent of total household income. About 16 percent of total income went to non-Hispanic black households who made up 21percent of all households.

Finally, Asians, who were 13 percent of total households also earned 13 percent of total household income, the only race/ethnic group which earned income commensurate with their percentages of all households.

Complete and detailed data for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Asians, and Latinos are presented throughout the text and in the statistical appendix and for Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, and Colombians, the City’s largest Latino national sub groups. These may be used as basic reference materials for researchers, journalists, students, and information seekers.

*Media may request interviews with Graduate Center experts regarding either report by contacting Tanya Domi, tdomi@gc.cuny.edu,  212-817-7283.

About the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies is a research institute that works for the advancement of the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the United States in the doctoral programs at the Graduate Center. One of its major priorities is to provide funding and research opportunities to Latino students at the Ph.D. level. The Latino Data Project was developed with the goal of making information available on the dynamically growing Latino population of the United States and especially New York City through the analysis of extant data available from a variety of sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Institute for Health, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and state and local-level data sources.

About the Graduate Center, CUNY
The Graduate Center (GC) is the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York. Offering more than thirty doctoral degrees from Anthropology to Urban Education, and fostering globally significant research in a wide variety of centers and institutes, the GC affords rigorous academic training in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences in a Ph.D. - focused, scholarly environment.  It is home to a core faculty of approximately 150 teachers and mentors, virtually all senior scholars, and many leaders in their disciplines. This faculty is enhanced by more than 1,800 faculty from across the CUNY colleges, as well as from cultural, academic, and scientific institutions throughout New York City and beyond. Through its extensive public programs including lectures, conferences, performances, exhibitions, and conversations, the Graduate Center contributes to the intellectual and cultural life of New York City and affirms our commitment to the premise that knowledge is a public good.

Submitted on: JAN 7, 2014

Category: Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, Press Room