Latinos Continue To Have The Highest Poverty Rates Of All Race And Ethnic Groups In New York City


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NEW YORK, November 28, 2022—A new report published today by the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) shows that about one-fifth of Latinos (21.4%) in New York City were living in poverty in 2019, followed by non-Hispanic blacks (19.4%), Asians (14.6%), and non-Hispanic whites (9.9%).

The report, titled “Poverty in New York City: Social, Demographic and Spatial Characteristics, 1990–2019” examines the trends in poverty in the city, focusing on disparities with respect to race and ethnicity, sex, age, educational attainment, nativity, and country of origin.

Poverty rates among the five largest Latino nationalities in the area—Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Ecuadorian, and Colombian—show great variation. Puerto Ricans had the highest poverty rates in 2019 at 23.2%, while Colombians had the lowest at 10.8%.

“While poverty also declined in all areas of the city, there are poverty hotspots that persisted over time. Poverty hotspots were mainly located in the Bronx, and remained there even after an overall decline in poverty. And there is a clear racial component to poverty in NYC,” said Marco Castillo, the author of the report. “The areas with higher poverty rates are also areas with a majority Latino and non-Hispanic black population. And conversely, the areas with low poverty rates are mainly those with a high non-Hispanic white population.”

Other key findings:

• The overall poverty level in New York City peaked in the year 2000, only to register a steady decline over the time period that followed. However, the decline in poverty rates was not equal across the board.

  • Women were still more affected by poverty than men (17.4% and 14.6% respectively).

  • Poverty is a more persistent for older age groups (18.7% among people 65 years and older).

  • Non-citizens had slightly higher poverty rates than citizens (17.5% and 15.8% respectively).

  • This report presents trends in poverty levels for the city of New York up to before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from the moment of the pandemic was not available at the time of this analysis. And while the pandemic is expected to have had an important impact on city poverty levels, this report can be seen as a snapshot of poverty at the precise moment before COVID-19 unfolded in New York City.

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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