# Statistics, statistics

The average New Yorker now works harder than ever, for less and less. Poverty in the city has lessened somewhat in the past few years, but in 2016 the official poverty rate was still 19.5 percent, or nearly one in every five New Yorkers. When the “near poverty” rate—those making up to \$47,634 a year for a family of four—is thrown in, it means that almost half the city is living what has become a marginal existence, just one paycheck away from disaster.

“Near Poverty” is defined as twice the poverty level.

As it happens, the poverty level is about 50% of median incomes.

So, our intrepid reporter has just discovered that around 50% of people are on less than median income.

Well done, well done.

## 17 thoughts on “Statistics, statistics”

1. Given what you’ve written here, they seem to have discovered that about half the population is on less than about 50% (=2 x 25%) of the median income.

If true, this would be statistically extremely surprising, rather than trivial.

Is an edit needed?

2. De Beers peddling a sale on TRUK at the moment:

This one on the inadequacy of the household analogy for state expenditure from Murphy:- kind of destroys his theory that banks create most of the Money in the modern economy therefore the government can do the same but there you go:

‘Having got their attention, we then fill that void with a CORRECT metaphor. What could that be? Might I suggest one almost everyone is familiar with: Football. So the response to the question would be something like….

A: Government is ‘like’ the FA. Firstly, the UK government, like the FA vis-a-vis league points, is the ONLY entity that can issue £ sterling. Secondly, the UK government, like the FA vis-a-vis league points, CANNOT ever run out of £ sterling.

The metaphor is equally apt for many other aspects such as the FA will ONLY accept its OWN points (not EUFA Champion’s League points, not gold, not Bitcoin, not anything else) in ‘payment’ for the ‘tax’ collected at the end of the season – when it zeros all the teams points in the table.’

Requoting claims about the NHS’ efficiency ignoring the fact that it’s main flaw was a failure to keep people alive. (Indeed a past US president comments on this post)

Completely misunderstanding the money supply and its implications:

‘In April this year M4, which is the broad measure of UK money supply, was £2,356 billion. That M4 is greater then GDP is normal. It had risen by £45 billion over the previous year.

I make the point for a reason. That reason is to note that we need new money creation each year. Money can only be created in two ways. Banks can lend it. Or the government can create it by running deficits.

Right now the government is aiming for and achieving a current fiscal balance: it is balancing its books on day to day spending. It is borrowing for investment, but not to cover current spending.’

And bemoaning the lack of ‘academic blogs’ such as his own, as well as promising five more papers of nonsense to add to the four books he has already got published, chillingly.

‘Now I am a full time academic as my day job and I have five such papers in progress right now. But what will have more impact, those papers, or this blog? You already know the answer to that.

And we need their role to be recognised as of importance in themselves.

But I am not sure there is much chance of that happening. We’ll throw money at producing papers of little likely overall consequence instead, I am afraid to say.’

I have checked the Calendar and it’s June, not December but he seems to be in a giving mood today….

3. Poverty in the city has lessened somewhat in the past few years

Gentrification is driving Blacks out of the city and replacing them with yuppies.

Coincidence I am sure.

4. A lot of things are “just one step away from disaster”, whether it’s poverty or the NHS or “late-stage capitalism” or whatever. Yet curiously, that disaster never arrives.

I’ve stopped listening to that boy who cries wolf.

5. “The rent on the rent-stabilized apartment that I’ve leased since 1980 has more than tripled in that time. ”

40 years in the same rented apartment?

“Not long ago a rent-stabilized building would sell for ten or at most twelve times its rent roll—the amount of money, before expenses, that it generates in a year,” wrote journalist Michael Greenberg in a meticulous analysis that appeared in last August’s New York Review of Books. “Today it sells for perhaps thirty or forty times that amount, or ten times what the rent roll would be after regulated tenants have been dislodged.”

Nothing to do with interest rates falling from 20% to a couple of percent I’m sure.

“hings I liked about that old New York, now vanished?

My neighbors.

Most of them are gone or going now, after decades in the same visibly slouching, century-old apartment house where I live. In the apartment below ours, from the day I moved in back in 1980 with three friends from college, was Mercedes, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, with her extended family of three generations. When her mother, Anna, a sunny, religious, and unfailingly kind woman, began to decline with the years, Mercedes tended to her devotedly at home, bringing a hospital bed into their living room. But their rent-controlled apartment was in Anna’s name, and when she died, Mercedes and her husband could no longer afford even the stabilized rent and decided to move back to the Dominican Republic. After all those years, they were just gone, almost overnight.”

Ah, now I see! It’s just an article about how he is getting older and the world is changing and he doesn’t like it.

6. Well, for years I and my family spent our income each month. One pay cheque away from disaster? They might say so. But from our POV?
No, our spending included mortgage investment, car loan payments, life insurance, AVC’s, etc.
And we had holidays, meals out, etc.
Do these campaigns understand how most people live? Have they ever met us?

7. Theophrastus – “Surely, ‘poverty’ need not stop parents washing their children’s underwear. Parental negligence isn’t an inevitable consequence of ‘poverty”.”

Anyone here have grandparents who were 1. not poor and 2. would have sent their children out in dirty clothing?

8. ‘it means that almost half the city is living what has become a marginal existence, just one paycheck away from disaster.’

There’s the old ‘struggle’ schtick. The grand presumption that people who make less money can’t manage their finances. It is insulting.

9. SMFS, my gran always used to say: We might be poor but there’s no need to dress poor. Always well turned out was my gran.

10. @Theophrastus

Tesco soap: 25p for a 125 gm bar.

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/268305805

The same price as two-thirds of a single cigarette:

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/295770454

When will the left stop denying that the poor have agency? ‘Never’, you say? ‘Because it gives them a pleasing glow of superiority?’, you say? ‘And because they actually despise the poor and use them only as a prop for their self esteem’.

By Jove, you might be on to something there.

11. Tripled in 40 years? That’s 2.8% per year. That’s less than consumer inflation over the same period (4%), and less than income inflation (30%) – so, a bargain! It’s actually *CHEAPER* than 40 years ago.

12. SMFS
My maternal grandmother was poor because of early widowhood with four daughters. Her house and children were always immaculate. She helped bring up her grandchild and my cousin, too, after his father died. All on a pittance. And, at the age of 80 and armed only with her rolling pin, she attacked two burglars and pursued them down the street. (That was the 60s, when being an outlaw meant you had minimal human rights.)

Thomas Fuller: excellent!

13. @ SMFS
My grandparents were not poor and would never have sent children out in dirty clothing, however I think it is more relevant that I, and lots of others, knew families who *were* poor and would never send their children out in dirty clothing – ragged: certainly, dirty: never.

14. @ Tim
Who on earth believes that the average New Yorker now works harder than ever? Or for less and less than N years ago?
The “near poverty rate” is \$47,634 for a family of 4, which puts it above Indonesia in GDP/head on a PPP comparison, so above 87 out of 175 countries listed by the World Bank in its GDP/head statistics and only \$20 pa below the median income/head. Is it “near poverty” to be 0.05% below median income? To the extent that Proxima Centauri is near the Earth, I suppose.
PLEASE do not dignify this junk by calling it statistics.