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, both median household incomes and poverty rates in the region have held steady. 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 $68,050 in 2010-14, median incomes were also comfortably above the levels for the state ($62,600) and nation ($53,500).
Asian and white residents in the region had the highest median incomes, at $90,500 and $70,600, respectively. African American and Hispanic residents had the lowest median incomes at $51,800 and $56,100, though both exceeded rates for their respective groups in the state and nation.
Poverty rates have remained steady in the region.
In 2010-14, about 11% of the region’s residents were living in poverty, slightly below the state (12%) and under national (16%) levels. Ulster and Orange had the highest poverty rates in the region at 13% and 12% respectively, 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 2010-14, Hispanic residents had the second highest poverty rate (17%), while Asians and whites had the lowest at 8% and 10% respectively.
A low percentage of children are receiving subsidized child care.
In 2014, 1.6% 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 2014 (1.1%), while Ulster and Dutchess were at 2.3% and 1.9%, respectively.
More students were eligible for free or reduced price lunches in 2014 compared to 2005.
In 2014, 37% of students in the region were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, up 11 points since 2005 but under the 38% for the state. Orange had the highest rate of eligibility at 40%, followed by Ulster (39%) and Dutchess (30%).
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 2013, lower than the rates for the state (15%) and nation (20%). The participation rate increased from10% in 2000.