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 income has risen slightly and poverty rates have remained flat. The proportion of children receiving subsidized child care has increased since 2007. A higher proportion of students in the region was eligible for free or reduced price lunches in 2014 compared to 2005. The percentage of individuals receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit has increased.
Median household income decreased, similar to declines experienced by the state and nation.
Households in Ulster County were the lowest median income in the region, at $58,600 in 2010-14, below the average for the state ($62,600), yet above the national rate ($53,500).
Hispanic and white residents in Ulster had the highest median incomes at about $43,700 and $60,400 respectively. African American residents had lower median incomes at $36,200, consistent with trends in the region, state, and nation. All racial and ethnic groups in Ulster County earned lower incomes than their respective groups in the region.
Poverty rates have remained steady.
In 2010-14, about 12% of people living in Ulster were living in poverty, on par with the state and below the 16% in the nation. Ulster’s poverty rate was slightly below Orange and well above the 9% in Dutchess. About 8% of seniors and 6% of veterans were living in poverty.
Among racial and ethnic groups, poverty rates were highest for African American residents in Ulster (25%), similar to trends for the state and nation. Hispanic residents had the second highest poverty rate (22%), while whites had the lowest (11%).
Since 2007, the proportion of children receiving subsidized child care in Ulster has increased, compared to statewide trends.
In 2014, 2.3% of Ulster’s children participated in subsidized child care, up from 2.2% in 2007, similar with the state and above the region's rate of 1.6%. Ulster’s rates were consistently the highest in the region.
A higher proportion of students in Ulster was eligible for free or reduced price lunches in 2014 compared to 2005, similar to statewide trends.
In 2014, 39% of students in Ulster were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, slightly higher than the statewide rate of 38%. Orange had the highest rate of eligibility in 2014 with 40%, while Dutchess (30%) had the lowest.
A larger percentage of Ulster’s population received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) than the region.
About 16% of tax filers in Ulster County received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2013, slightly above the state (15%) yet below the nation (20%). The participation rate increased by 3 points since 2000.