Dec. 17, 2019 By Kristen Torres
Nearly 20 percent of residents who live in the greater Elmhurst and Corona areas are living below the federal poverty line, according to a new report.
The report, released today by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, looked at five neighborhoods — Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst-Maspeth, Corona and North Corona — and noted that the majority of residents in these neighborhoods work in low-paying jobs.
About 50 percent of households earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. For a family of three this represents $40,840 per year.
Given the low wages, 18.9 percent of residents in the five collective neighborhoods live at or below the poverty line. A family of three is considered as living below the federal poverty line if the household earns less than $20,420 per year.
The report noted that 13.2 percent of residents across Queens live at or below the federal poverty line.
“Rates of employment and labor force participation are high [in the five neighborhoods],” the report said. “But many workers are in lower-wage industries where incomes may not be enough to support a family.”
Residents are most likely to work in the construction or hospitality industries, according to the report. A much smaller number work in positions in education, health and other high-paying professional jobs.
The report found that nearly 5,000 students throughout the five neighborhoods lack stable housing, with about 80 percent of those students temporarily living with relatives or neighbors due to economic hardship.
“Income insecurity is real and means that the effects of an economic downturn in the future would be widely and harshly felt in the community,” the report said.
The five neighborhoods have the highest rate of immigrant residents in the city — nearly two-thirds of the population — and more than half are Latinx.
The report revealed poverty disproportionately affects black and Latinx residents compared to white and Asian residents. According to the report, 22 percent of Latinx residents and 35 percent of black residents are classified as living in poverty. Meanwhile, the rate for whites is 15 percent and Asians 17 percent.
The report also cited a lack of affordable housing as one of the reasons most families in the area struggle with income insecurity.
“Only half of residents consider their housing to be affordable,” the report said. “The consequences of rising rents mean that overcrowded units and ‘doubled up’ families are more common than in other parts of the city.”
The report noted that the best way to combat poverty in these neighborhoods is to increase the supply of affordable housing and to provide additional support for immigrants.