Queens is booming, but who is left behind?
May 23, 2018 | 8426 views | 0 0 comments | 531 531 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s snapshot of Queens painted a crystal-clear picture of the borough’s booming economy: record-highs in population, business sales and job gains, and the lowest unemployment in history.

DiNapoli and Queens elected officials attributed that economic activity, rightfully, to the borough’s trademark diversity. Immigrants make up 47 percent of the borough’s population and more than half of Queens’s workforce, but account for 69 percent of self-employed entrepreneurs.

When you zoom out and see the big picture, Queens is trending in the right direction in nearly all of the economic metrics. But if you look between the cracks, you may find those who are left behind by this economic success.

According to New York City data on poverty, nearly 43 percent of all Queens residents lived at or near the poverty line in 2016. That’s slightly lower than the citywide average, but still a significant hurdle.

The neighborhoods with the highest rates of near-poverty in Queens are Elmhurst and South Corona (61 percent), Jackson Heights and North Corona (56.5 percent) and Flushing, Murray Hill and Whitestone (48.7 percent).

If you break it down by race citywide, you’ll find some stark disparities. Nearly 56 percent of Hispanics citywide live at or near the poverty line, followed by Asians at 49.9 percent and blacks at 45.5 percent.

Meanwhile, 27.8 percent of white residents citywide live near or in poverty.

These data points indicate that while Queens – and the rest of the city - is expanding and growing, income inequality and poverty are still striking problems, particularly if you break down the data into more granular levels.

To better understand who is in need of resources the most, the comptroller’s next report should examine where the city can improve to help its most vulnerable.
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