Photo via CityRealty
It sounds like a dream come true. After a decade of living and struggling to pay your rent as a middle-income New Yorker, you get an email from NYC Housing Connect that says, “Invitation for Interview” followed by the address of the building to which you applied. For a moment, you are ready to break out the champagne and start celebrating the fact that that rent-stabilized, affordable NYC apartment you have always dreamt about living in—yes, that massive apartment that is only a fraction of everyone else’s monthly rent—is finally in reach. But then, like a lot of middle-class New Yorkers, you start to seriously consider whether you’re ready, willing, and able to accept what NYC Housing Connect is actually offering.
Hear from real New Yorkers who have turned down affordable housing
The lack of affordability in New York is typically, and justly, blamed on skyrocketing rents, but when it comes to the middle class it might be more closely tied to a lack of jobs. The Wall Street Journal shares a new report from the Center for an Urban Future, which finds that “while the city added a record number of jobs since 2011, middle-wage industries paying between $40,000 and $80,000 a year added the fewest positions, and a lot of those were temp jobs.” Additionally, middle-wage jobs lost the most employees. Low-wage industries (paying under $40,000) such as restaurants and home health care services disproportionately added the most jobs.
However, the report also points to a few factors that may indicate a comeback for the middle class. For one, middle-wage industries accounted for three of the eight sectors with a net gain of at least 10,000 jobs since 2011. These are employment services, building equipment contractors, and colleges/universities, respectively. In total, 23 middle-wage sectors added at least 1,000 jobs during this time, not far off from the low-wage sector’s 24 and high-wage’s 28. But are these figures enough to give the middle class staying power?
Cast your vote here!
Image via 6sqft flickr
Following up on our recent post taking a look at how much you need to earn to be considered “rich” where you live, here’s a brand new study by Quoctrung Bui of NPR’s Planet Money which investigates what’s considered “middle class” in the United States. Although most Americans would humbly identify themselves as median earners, whether they’re raking in $30K or $300K, there are actually benchmarks for this segment of the population. But as you may have guessed, they vary greatly depending on where you live.
Find out where you stack up here