Almost half of New Yorkers struggle to reach end of month

New York, Apr 27 (EFE).- New York is for many the world's financial capital, the symbol of capitalism, the home of Wall Street vultures, stars and celebrities. But in the city of skyscrapers, almost half the inhabitants have trouble making ends meet until the end of the month.

"The history of New York has always been that way, the home of rich and poor where inequalities are part of the landscape of a city that offers immense riches to some but poverty and misery for so many others," the president of the Hispanic Federation, Jose Calderon, told Efe in an interview.

The reality of this contrast is the substance of the report published this week by the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg based on 2005-2011 statistics that reflect an increase in New York poverty levels since the 2009 global recession was declared officially over.

To arrive at their statistics, those in charge of the study set the threshold of poverty at an annual income of nearly $31,000 for a household of two adults and two minors, a reality faced by a little more than one out of every five New Yorkers in 2011, 2 percent more than in 2009.

The figures gathered by the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) for the report on poverty in New York also offers clues about another, less well-known reality about the city: almost half the population has serious problems making their money last until the end of the month.

Officially they are not poor because they earn more than $31,000 a year, but 46 percent of New Yorkers are near-poor with an income of less than $46,500, an amount that prevents them from receiving social aid like food stamps from the federal government or the WIC food and nutrition service for women, infants and children.

Poverty in the city follows its usual pattern. Some 26.5 percent of Asians and 25.1 percent of Hispanics are at the top of the list of racial groups with the highest poverty levels, ahead of African-Americans with 21.4 percent and whites with 15.4 percent, according to the latest available figures.