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 have declined while poverty rates have risen slightly in the region. The proportion of children receiving subsidized child care has been low, while the share of students eligible for free or reduced price lunches has grown. The percentage of individuals receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit has increased slightly.
Regionally, median household income has declined similar to losses at the state and national levels.
Households in the region lost some economic ground over the past decade, with median household income decreasing 5%, after adjusting for inflation. At $67,900 in 2011-15, median incomes were also comfortably above the levels for the state ($62,900) and nation ($53,900).
Asian and white residents in the region had the highest median incomes, at $94,700 and $70,700, respectively. African American and Hispanic residents had the lowest median incomes at $51,800 and $55,100, though both exceeded rates for their respective groups in the state and nation.
Poverty rates have risen in the region since 2000.
In 2011-15, about 12% of the region’s residents were living in poverty, below the state (16%) and national (15%) levels. Ulster and Orange had the highest poverty rates in the region both at 13%, followed by Dutchess with 9%. About 7% of seniors and 5% of veterans were living in poverty.
Poverty rates were highest for African American residents in the region (20%), as was true for the state and nation. In 2011-15, Hispanic residents had the second highest poverty rate (17%), while Asians and whites had the lowest at 9% and 10% respectively.
A low percentage of children are receiving subsidized child care.
In 2015, 1.5% of the region’s children participated in subsidized child care, below the 2.4% for the state. Orange County had the lowest rate of subsidized child care participation in 2015 (1.1%), while Ulster and Dutchess were at 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.
More students were eligible for free or reduced price lunches in 2016 compared to 2005.
In 2016, 39% of students in the region were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, up 13 points since 2005 but under the 45% for the state. Orange had the highest rate of eligibility at 42%, followed by Ulster (45%) and Dutchess (31%).
A lower percentage of the region’s population received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) than the state or nation.
About 14% of tax filers in the region received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2014, lower than the rates for the state (15%) and nation (19%). The participation rate increased from13% in 2011.