Indicators of financial self-sufficiency are a critical benchmark of a community’s well-being.
In this section we highlight the trends for several indicators including: 1) median household income; 2) poverty; 3) eligibility for free and reduced school lunch; 4) subsidized child care; and 5) the Earned Income Tax Credit.
In all cases, comparisons to state statistics reflect the state excluding New York City.
Since 2000, median household incomes and poverty rates have remained flat. The proportion of children receiving subsidized child care in the region remained low. A higher proportion of students in the region were eligible for free or reduced price lunches in 2013 compared to 2005. The percentage of individuals receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit has increased.
Median household income declined, similar to state and national trends.
Households in Orange County declined in 2010-14 to about $70,800 (after adjusting for inflation), above the levels for the region (68,050), state ($62,600) and nation ($53,500). State and national median incomes both had larger declines than Orange County relative to 2000.
Asian and white residents in Orange County had the highest median incomes, at about $93,000 and $74,000, respectively. However, African American and Hispanic residents had lower median incomes ($60,000 and $62,000 respectively, but still above state and national figures. All racial and ethnic groups in Orange County earned higher incomes than their respective groups in the region.
Poverty rates in Orange County increased over the decade.
In 2010-14, about 13% of people living in Orange County were living in poverty, above the state (12%) and regional rates (11%), yet below the national rate of 16%. Orange’s poverty rate was slightly above the 12% in Ulster, yet above the 9% in Dutchess. About 7% of seniors and 5% of veterans were living in poverty.
Among racial and ethnic groups, poverty rates were highest for African Americans residents in Orange County (19%). The poverty rate for Hispanics was 16%, compared to 22% in Ulster and 16% in Dutchess.
The proportion of children receiving subsidized child care decreased since 2007, similar to the region.
In 2014, 1.1% of Orange County’s children participated in subsidized child care, below the 2.4% for the state, 1.9% in Dutchess and 2.3% in Ulster. Orange generally had the lowest rate in the region.
A higher proportion of students was eligible for free or reduced price lunches in 2014 compared to 2005, similar to statewide trends.
In 2014, 40% of students in Orange were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, above the state (38%). Orange had the highest rate in the region compared to 39% in Ulster and 30% in Dutchess.
A lower percentage of the county’s population received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) than the nation.
About 16% of tax filers in Orange County received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2013, slightly above the state (15%) yet below the nation (20%). The participation rate increased 4 percentage points since 2000.