The U.S. Census Bureau released 2019 data from the American Community Survey (ACS) last week, and 2019 will almost certainly represent the peak of the recent economic cycle. Because there are booms and recessions, an enlightening analysis of trends over time requires that similar years be used. For 2019, the peak of the everything bubble, that would be 2000, peak of the dot.com bubble, and 2007, the peak of the housing bubble. Unfortunately, when the Census Bureau shut down American Factfinder and replaced it with data.census.gov, it only included data starting in the year 2010 – near the bottom of the last recession. So this post only compares the latest data with data that I happen to have on my computer, downloaded over the past 15 years, or available on the Department of City Planning website.
In a break from my usual style, I’m not going to bury the lede. From 2000 to 2019, the number of employed New York City residents soared by nearly 850,000. And the number of households with work earnings — fell slightly, remaining at about 2.5 million! The number of households with Social Security income increased by nearly 200,000, or about the same amount as the increase in the total number of occupied housing units. Housing has continued to be occupied by Baby Boomers, now moving into retirement, including cost-privileged housing – rent regulated, Mitchell-Lama, public housing, owned units purchased at pre-housing bubble prices. Meanwhile, the young workers surging into the city were forced to double and triple up, sharing apartments and even rooms, because rents soared and they couldn’t afford their own place. No wonder so many left when they became able to work remotely. Comparing the 2000 Census with the 2019 American Community Survey, the median gross rent increased 42.0% — after adjustment for inflation. The percent of city renters paying at least 30.0% of their income in rent increased to more than 50.0%.Continue reading