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Manhattan Institute

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Poverty and Progress in New York X: Income Inequality Trends Under de Blasio

issue brief

Poverty and Progress in New York X: Income Inequality Trends Under de Blasio

December 13, 2016
Urban PolicyNYC
EconomicsIncome Inequality

Abstract

New York mayor Bill de Blasio assumed office in January 2014, promising to “take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities . . . [and] put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love.” As his administration nears the end of its third year, his promise remains unfulfilled.  

Key Findings

  • Household income inequality has risen moderately since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009, and since the beginning of the current mayor’s term in January 2014.
  • Earned income inequality has also risen moderately, as measured by Theil’s Index, also called “Theil’s T.” Unlike the better-known Gini coefficient, Theil’s Index allows researchers to more rapidly predict inequality in cities as measured by income-tax data, using the most recent wage and employment data.
  • Earned income inequality in New York is driven almost entirely by the city’s specialization in the financial sector. Finance employs 4% of the labor force but accounts for 19% of city wages and salaries.

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Alex Armlovich is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

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