Graduate Center Study Finds NYCs Child Poverty Rate Exceeds National Average

April 29, 2015

Graduate Center Study Finds NYC's Child Poverty Rate Exceeds National Average; New York City Failed to Reduce Childhood Poverty During the Past 20 Years

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Graduate Center Study Finds NYC's Child Poverty Rate Exceeds National Average; New York City Failed to Reduce Childhood Poverty During the Past 20 Years

Latinos have Highest Child Poverty Rate of the
City's Major Race/Ethnic Groups

NEW YORK, April 29, 2015 -- The Graduate Center, City University of New York and the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies announced today a new study, "Childhood Poverty Rates in New York City between 1990 and 2010," that shows New York City's child poverty rate was 32 percent - 10 percentage points higher than the national average in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available.

The study also showed that childhood poverty rates for New York City remained virtually unchanged during the past 20 years, signaling that policymakers have failed to make any headway to reduce childhood poverty.

"Nearly one-third of New York City's children were living below the poverty line in 2010, and this high poverty rate was unchanged from 1990," said Laird W. Bergad, Distinguished Professor of History at the Graduate Center, Lehman College, and director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies.

The study also finds that poverty rates among Latino children were higher than those of (46 percent in 1990 and 41 percent in 2010) compared to children of non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Asian backgrounds.

"Latinos consistently had the highest child poverty rates, which changed very little over time," said Karen Okigbo, author of the report and a Ph.D. student at the Graduate Center. "Of the City's five largest Latino subgroups, Puerto Rican children were the poorest. In 1990 and 2010, half, or 51 percent, of all Puerto Rican children in New York City were living below the poverty line." (See figure 6).

The report examines childhood poverty rates between 1990 and 2010 among the city's four major race/ethnic groups and across the city's five boroughs. (Poverty rates of Latino children were divided among the city's five largest Latino subgroups.) Data came from the American Community Survey PUMS (Public Use Microdata Series) released by the Census Bureau and reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa.

"The data from this study show that Mexican children have high poverty rates, and they have risen during the last 20 years," said Bergad. "This trend could be a reflection of the large numbers of foreign-born Mexicans that arrived in the city after 1990."

In 2010, 43 percent of Mexican children lived in poverty, up from 32 percent in 1990, the study shows.

"Dominicans were the only Latino group with declining childhood poverty rates," said Okigbo. "Those rates dropped substantially to 39 percent in 2010 from 51 percent in 1990.” (See figure 6).

The study also finds that the Bronx had the highest percentage of childhood poverty, with nearly half of all the children living in poverty in each census year. Childhood poverty rates in Queens and Staten Island increased between 1990 and 2010, while the childhood poverty rates decreased in Manhattan during that period. Brooklyn had the second-highest childhood poverty rate in 2000 and 2010.

About the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies
The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) promotes the study and understanding of Latin American and Caribbean cultures and the communities established in the United States, with a special focus on New York City, by peoples from this vast and extraordinarily diverse region. CLACLS researches and publishes innovative data-based studies focused upon New York City's and the nation's Latino communities, such as CLACLS' flagship Latino Data Project. The Latino Data Project provides the public with insights on various aspects of the New York City Latino experience.

About the Graduate Center
The Graduate Center (GC) is the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York. Offering more than 30 doctoral degrees 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. It is home to a core faculty of approximately 140 teachers and mentors, along with 1700 faculty from across the CUNY colleges and New York City's cultural, academic and scientific institutions. Through its public programs, the Graduate Center enhances the City's intellectual and cultural life.