Inhabitants of the City That Never Sleeps may find themselves spending quite a few more evenings tossing and turning after reading a new report detailing the grim realities of soaring rents in a city plagued by income inequality.
Released on Monday by New York University's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, the "State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods 2012" report concludes that between 2007 and 2011 the citywide median income decreased while rent prices rose.
To be specific, median monthly gross rent increased by 8.6 percent during the time period, rising from $1,096 to $1,191, according to the report. Meanwhile, median household income decreased by 6.8 percent, to $50,433.
With these numbers, it should not be surprising that close to a third of New York renters spend half -- or more -- of their annual income on housing, according to the Furman Center.
"Given that two-thirds of New Yorkers rent their homes, it’s concerning to see that rental housing has become increasingly expensive across the city and increasingly unaffordable to many tenants,” Furman Co-director Ingrid Gould Ellen said in a statement released by the Furman Center.
Perhaps more surprising, despite the tough financial climate, people continue to flock to a metropolitan area that in 2011 was given the dubious title of having the highest rate of income inequality in the U.S.
"The recession did not stop people from moving to New York City; we have seen sustained population growth and the rental vacancy rates remained the lowest among the five largest U.S. cities,” Furman Center Director Vicki Been said in a statement.
This sustained growth appears impervious to reality. For example, using data gathered by the the U.S. Census Bureau, The New Yorker calculated that the income gap in Manhattan is comparable to that of countries like Sierra Leone and Namibia.