Introduction: This report examines trends in median household incomes among New York City’s Latino population between 1990 and 2011, and considers these in comparative perspective with the City’s other major race/ethnic groups as well as with Latinos across the United States.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.
Results: Between 1990 and 2011 median household incomes among the City’s entire population fell by -4.7%. The Latino population experienced a decline in median household incomes of -3.6% over this period compared with -9.2% among Asians. There was a slight increase of 2.8% for non-Hispanic whites and there was a marginal rise of 0.7% in the median household incomes of New York City’s non-Hispanic black population. The precise impact of the recession which began in 2007 may be measured by examining data between 2005 and 2011. These revealed that median household income among all of the City’s race/ethnic groups fell. The total population experienced a decline of -5.6%. For Latinos there was a decrease of -5.5% between 2005 and 2011 compared with -2.4% among non-Hispanic whites, -2.2% for non-Hispanic blacks, and -7.4% for the City’s Asian population.
Discussion: These data suggest that despite the fact that such economic indicators as the Dow Jones Industrial average and the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index are near record levels, the levels of economic well-being of the vast majority of New York City’s population has been stagnant or declining over the past two decades, despite pockets of extraordinary wealth, especially among non-Hispanic whites and Asians. The data also suggest that the recession of 2007 – 2009 merely accentuated trends in the City which had been developing since 1990. Although median household incomes did fall after 2007 they had been stagnant or declining marginally over the two preceding decades.
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