New York Post
Bill Sanderson and Amber Sutherland
Income gaps in New York are greater than those of any other big American city, and have been trending higher for decades, says a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute.
One percent of New York City residents earned nearly 45 percent of the city's income in 2007. Nationally, the top 1 percent of earners took about 23.5 percent of all income, the study says.
New York's top 1 percent -- about 90,000 households -- had average incomes of $3.7 million in 2007, said James Parrott, a Fiscal Policy Institute economist. That works out to an income of about $10,000 a day -- about what the city's poorest 1 million households earn in a year, Parrot said.
"New York City has always had extremes of rich and poor," said Parrott. "But we haven't had the extremes we have today.
"It's been getting more extreme all the time. It's more extreme now than what it was 10 years ago, or 15 years ago."
Skyrocketing Wall Street salaries are the biggest factor in the income gap, Parrott said. The gap was also widened by a decline in poor peoples' inflation-adjusted incomes since 1980, says the study. Middle-class incomes have risen, but only slightly.
And the data also show a big disparity in the city's tax system.
Although the top 1 percent of New York's earners took in 45 percent of the income, they paid 34 percent of city property, sales and income taxes, the institute's study says.
It's difficult to find comparable tax data for other cities. But a national Tax Foundation study says that the top 1 percent of earners get around 20 percent of the income but pay 38 percent of all federal taxes.
In the nation's most crowded city, it's inevitable that rich and poor live cheek by jowl.
Wall Street is just a few miles from The Bronx, America's poorest county. Towering luxury apartment complexes, like the West Side Trump development and the modern building at 111 Central Park North in Harlem tower over nearby housing projects.
"I think they are trying to move more rich people in, and more poor people out, to Brooklyn and The Bronx," said Waseem Saedi, 25, a clerk at the ANF Deli along rapidly gentrifying Central Park North.
"The middle doesn't exist," Saedi said. "It's either poor or rich. There's no financial variety in New York City."
Harlem businesswoman Aisha Danae, 51, said the apartment at Fifth Avenue and 110th Street that cost her $500 a month a decade ago now goes for $1,500.
"Everything in Manhattan is for rich people now," she said.