Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is New York The Future?

The wealthiest 1 percent of New York City residents took in nearly one-third of the personal income in the city in 2009 — almost double the comparable proportion nationwide, a new study shows.

In a report scheduled to be released on Monday, the city comptroller’s office found that large percentages of New Yorkers earned high incomes and low incomes, leaving a smaller middle class than in the nation as a whole.

“There is some evidence of the kind of common worry that New York has a weak middle,” said Frank Braconi, chief economist in the comptroller’s office.

The report analyzed tax filings by city residents for income earned from 2000 through 2009, the most recent data available, and compared them with the national numbers. All of the numbers were adjusted for inflation.

The most striking difference between New York and the rest of the United States, the report showed, was the concentration of earning power at the high end.

In 2009, nearly 15,000 filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more. They accounted for less than half of 1 percent of the total number of filers, but they took in 26.7 percent of the income in the city. Nationally, people who earned at least $1 million in 2009 collected less than 10 percent of all the income.

Income was much more volatile for the wealthy than for other New Yorkers, the study found.

The average income for the bottom 99 percent of city residents rose from about $42,000 in 2000 to a high of about $50,000 in 2007, then fell back to about $47,000 in 2009.

The comptroller’s report also revealed that New York had a smaller bulge in its middle than the rest of the country. Nationally, about 31 percent of filers earned $50,000 to $200,000, and they took in 52 percent of all the personal income in the country. In New York, just 28 percent of filers fell into that income bracket, and they collected only 36 percent of all the personal income in the city.
More Earners at Extremes in New York Than in U.S. (New York Times)

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