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The Concentration of Wealth in New York City

Changes in the Structure of Household Income by Race/Ethnic Groups and Latino Nationalities 1990 – 2010 – Laird W. Bergad, Distinguished Professor, Department of Latin American, Latino and
Puerto Rican Studies, Lehman College, Ph.D. Program in History, Graduate Center.

“This study examines the concentration of wealth in New York City between 1990 and 2010 using data on household income from the U.S. Census Bureau. It measures income-earning categories in two separate ways. First, by examining the percentile distribution of wealth – that is the upper 1%, 5%, 10% and 20% of household income earners and the percentage of total wealth these households control, as well as all percentile categories in 10% intervals. Second, it examines households in different actual income categories, such as those earning over $100,000, and how much of the total City’s wealth they control. Additionally, the gini index or coefficient, and how it changed from 1990 to 2010, is used as an indicator of the process of wealth concentration in the City. 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% of all household income earners in the City controlled 48% of total household income in 1990 and 54% in 2010. Over the same period the lower 20% of all households experienced a slight decline of from 3.3% to 3% of the City’s total household income. At the very top of the household-income earning hierarchy the upper 1% of all New York City households experienced an increase in their median incomes from $452,415 in 1990 to $716,625 in 2010. For the upper 10% 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% of households earned median household incomes of $8,468 in 1990 and $9,455 in 2010.”

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