The Working Poor in the New York Metropolitan Area


 A New Report from the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY Studies Employment Trends and Poverty Status in the New York Metropolitan Area

Download report here.



NEW YORK, April 26, 2021—The Graduate Center of The City University of New York’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) has released a report on the changes in the Dominican Population of the New York metropolitan area. 

The report, titled “Employment Trends and Poverty Status: Men and Women in the New York Metro Area between 2000 and 2017,” examines key socioeconomic trends in poverty status by sex, race/ethnicity and across the five largest Latino nationalities in the New York metro area. 

Generally, among the employed population, full-year employment increased over this period. By 2017, 84.7% of employed men and 79.9% of employed women worked for the full year. However, full-year and full-time employment may still not be enough to lift some groups out of poverty. By 2017, personal incomes among working poor men were 4.5 times lower than personal incomes among employed men not in poverty ($10,191 compared to $56,051); 3.5 times lower among working poor women compared to employed women not in poverty ($10,191 and $45,860). 

Other key findings: 

  • Between 2000 and 2017, full-year working poor Asian men averaged more than 40 hours per week. Between 2000 and 2010, full-year working poor Latinos, non-Hispanic white men, and Mexicans also worked more than 40 hours per week. 
  • Employed Latinos and Latinas in poverty were generally worse off compared to men and women in other race/ethnic groups. By 2017, 6.7% Latinos and 12.2% Latinas were working poor; compared to working poverty rates among non-Hispanic white men and women of 3.0% and 2.6%, respectively. 
  • Over this period, employed Latinos across the five largest Latino subgroups were worse off than the overall employed population in the NYC Metro Area. Latinos not in poverty across all subgroups averaged 40 or more weekly work hours. 
  • Employed Mexicans were worse off compared to their Latino subgroup counterparts. By 2017, employed Mexicans had the highest in-work poverty rates (14.6%) and the lowest personal incomes ($30,573 among those not in poverty), compared to the other four nationalities. 
  • Sex disparities persisted across most employment measures between 2000 and 2017. Employed women typically had higher in-work poverty rates (6.3% among all women compared to 4.5% among all men in 2017, for example), lower personal incomes (regardless of poverty status), and worked fewer hours (regardless of poverty status), than their male counterparts. 

Contact Sebastián Villamizar-Santamaría, Director of Quantitative Research, for a PDF of the report at

About The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

The core mission of CLACLS is to actively support and advance the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. in the doctoral programs of The Graduate Center, and to provide opportunities for Latino students at the Ph.D. level. CLACLS’s flagship program is the Latino Data Project, established in 2003 by Laird W. Bergad founding and current CLACLS director. Bergad is a distinguished professor in the Department of Latin American, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Lehman College and with the Ph.D. Program in History at The Graduate Center. The Latino Data Project conducts detailed quantitative research on the Latino population of the United States and New York City metropolitan region, analyzing raw data files produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies.

About The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, and initiatives, including its Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.

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