More than 27% of New Yorkers are now spending 50% or more of their income on rent, according to a new report issued by Representative Anthony Weiner. That percentage is up 13% since 2002, with 82,159 more NYC residents throwing more than half their income into the ravenous rent hole, as compared to seven years ago. The report, compiled from census data, reveals that Bronx residents have struggled the most, with more than 33% of residents spending half their cash on rent. For residents of Brooklyn and Queens, the number is roughly 28%.
Weiner says that with incomes in the outer boroughs falling, the middle class is finding it exceedingly difficult to meet New York's rising costs of living. He's pushing a plan to increase funding for low-income housing and housing for the elderly, and in a statement said, "It’s time for the federal government to get back in the business of creating affordable housing." Financial planners recommend that, ideally, only one third of income should be spent on housing.
In other kill-the-poor news, the average monthly premium for family health coverage has risen from $3,866 last April to $4,354—a 13 percent increase—according to a NY Post analysis of data from the state Insurance Department. The insurance industry maintains that rates have gone up because state law has mandated a too-generous coverage and co-pay structure. And experts predict rates will soar higher this year when the industry gets hit with $853 million in insurance-related taxes included in the state budget. Troy Oechsner, the state's deputy superintendent for health, says, "This is a huge problem and a major dysfunction of a broken market in New York."