Sign Up

New York — City of Extremes

How is life in the biggest U.S. city for the rich and the poor?

June 26, 2001

How is life in the biggest U.S. city for the rich and the poor?

To many people, New York City — the Big Apple — is still the embodiment of America. This is where many 19th century European immigrants started their life in the United States, after having been shuffled through Ellis Island. Even today, the city remains definitely a place of extremes. Our new Globalist Factsheet shows that, while some of the super-rich call New York their home, there are others who struggle to make it in New York, New York.

How big is the Big Apple?

In 2000, the population of New York City reached a record number of eight million people, after 7.3 million at the time of the 1990 census.

(Washington Post)

How diverse is New York’s population?

In 2000, minorities accounted for 65% of New York’s population. This compared to 1990, when minorities sccounted for 57% of the city’s population.

(Washington Post)

How well are the minorities integrated?

As of 1998, four out of every ten New York City residents speak a language other than English at home. Of these, half say they do not speak English well.

(Washington Post)

How rich are New Yorkers?

As of April 2001, 20% of the 275,000 U.S. households with assets in excess of $10 million resided in the New York metropolitan area.

(New York Times)

How much money did people make over the last years?

An American, who owned $500,000 in stock and a $500,000 New York apartment in 1983, was worth $5 million more in 1998 — all due to appreciation.


How has income distribution fared for New York City dwellers?

Since 1980, families in New York State at the top 5% of the income bracket gained an average of $108,000, while the lowest quintile lost $2,900.

(Washington Post)

How large is the group of those who did not make it?

As of 2000, 57% of inhabitants of the New York City area live at or below the poverty level, which is $16,900 annually for a couple.

(Washington Post)

What sector lost out on the economic boom?

Between 1969 and 1999, New York City eliminated more than two-thirds of its manufacturing jobs.

(Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

(Washington Post)

How expensive is it to do business in New York?

As of 1998, the four most expensive retail streets in the United States are all located in New York City. Fifth Avenue between 48th and 57th Street — with a rent of $580 per square foot — leads all others.

(Washington Post)

What about small businesses?

As of 1998, in New York city, a taxi operating license now costs $237,000. In the 60 years that these licenses have been sold in the open market, their price has increased by more than 18% annually — far more than the long-term historical average of 10.9% for large stocks.

(New York Times)

Where does the municipality make its money?

Between 1992 and 1997, Wall Street, which represents only 5% of City employment, accounted for 56% of the increase in aggregate real earnings in New York City.

(New York State Comptroller)

And finally, in this fast paced city, how much space do people have to relax?

As of 1993, the total amount of recreational park space on New York City per person is 28 square yards. In contrast, Tokyo has a mere 3.3 square yards per person.

(Washington Post)