September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Title:A polarized New York
Author:Ana María Ramírez
Blurb:Almost half of all New Yorkers over five years old speak a language other than English at home, according to the latest census figures. Ligia Jaquez, Program Coordinator at the Census Bureau, said that according to the data there is no doubt poverty increased in New York City in spite of the economic boom.
Body:The average salary of a family living in New York City decreased between 1989 and 1999, according to census data released yesterday. While in 1989 the average annual salary for residents within the five boroughs was $38,900, by 1999 that number fell to $38,300. In New York State as a whole average income levels increased slightly, rising from $43,000 to $43,400.
The Census Bureau also reported that the number of New York City residents born outside of the United States rose to 2.9 million in the year 2000. Almost half of all New Yorkers over five years old speak a language other than English at home.
Urban planner Arturo Sánchez called the data released yesterday by the Census Bureau general, and said that in order to analyze the situation of a specific ethnic group, like Latinos data must be collected and compared based on regional differences. This information is at the state and county level, he noted. Meanwhile, we cant even determine differences between Latino residents of Forest Hills and those of Jackson Heights. What the data does confirm is how much the average family salary has decreased in this city, and that the process of globalization has not served to produce an equal distribution of resources. Only certain groups have benefited from this model of economic development, remarked Sánchez.
He also attributed the decrease in average income levels to the Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani administrations favoring of the financial services, real-estate and insurance industries. These industries are the most dynamic and produce the highest levels of income. As a result, different geographic areas experience distinct levels of economic growth. In Manhattan, many people work in the stock market, so obviously the economy is different from that of the South Bronx. For example, when we talk about salaries among Latinos, a single Dominican mother cannot support her family in the same way as another Latino family where both parents work, Sánchez added.
Anabel Heckler of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) agreed with Sánchez to the degree that resources are not equally distributed among all sectors of the population. This census data does not surprise us. During the past decade we have heard a lot about economic growth, but this growth only favored the rich. Salaries among the poor and middle class have been decreasing, and we are seeing more economic inequality, said Heckler. She added that ACORN frequently runs campaigns to improve the quality of life in these communities. We started a living wage campaign in New York City, and another on the state level to augment the minimum wage to at least $6.75 an hour. We are calling for salaries that can actually enable people to pay their rent or support their families, said Heckler.
Ligia Jaquez, Program Coordinator at the Census Bureau, said that according to the data there is no doubt poverty increased in New York City in spite of the economic boom. After their release last year, Census 2000 data were criticized by numerous organizations who believed that many people were not counted. According to Jaquez this will not happen in future census counts. We are working now on Census 2010. In last years census we had problems with the long forms; however, we had a diverse group of census-takers, many of whom lived in the communities and spoke the languages where the data was taken. The important thing is that the politicians as well as the people understand the significance of the census and that we maintain constant communication, said Jaquez.