Key Findings

Across the board, workers in New York are not earning enough to make ends meet.

For all five household types, less than half of all workers earn a living wage.

Only 46 percent of workers in the state earn enough for a single adult to make ends meet.

Only 19 percent earn enough for a single adult with two children to make ends meet.

Race and Ethnicity Matter in New York

Data was available for white, black, Asian, Native American, and all workers of color, as well as for Latino and non-Latino workers. Native American workers, black workers, and workers of color overall were less likely to earn a living wage for all household types than was true for the overall working population. Latinos were less likely to earn a living wage than were non-Latinos.

The widest gap between black workers and all workers is for the household with a single adult. Forty-six percent of all workers earn a living wage greater than or equal to the living wage for a single adult, but only 36 percent of black workers were able to provide the income needed for a single adult to make ends meet. This is also the household with the widest gap for Native American workers and all workers of color, with 26 percent and 36 percent of workers earning enough for this household type, respectively.

Only 9 percent of Native American workers earn enough to for a single adult with two children to make ends meet, and only
12 percent of black workers earn enough for the same household type.

Only 9 percent of Latino workers earn a living wage to support a single adult with two children, and only 11 percent earn enough to support a family with two adults and two children, with only one adult working.

Gender Matters in New York

Across all household types, women were less likely than men to earn a living wage.

Only 40 percent of female workers earn a living wage for a single adult, compared with
50 percent of male workers.

Only 14 percent of female workers earn enough for a single adult with two children to make ends meet, and only 17 percent earn enough for a family with two adults and two children, with only one adult working.

Citizenship Matters in New York

Across all household types, non-citizens were less likely than citizens to earn a living wage.

The widest gap between non-citizens and citizens is for the household with a single adult. Only 29 percent of non-citizens earn enough for a single adult to make ends meet, compared to 48 percent of citizens.

Only 14 percent of non-citizen workers earn enough for a single adult with two children to make ends meet, and only 16 percent earn enough for a family with two adults with two children, with only one adult working.

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Christina Johnson – Kingston, New York

“I got a great education, but now it’s difficult to find a job that pays a wage that I can support myself on, live independently, and pay back my loans. Now, I am searching for a second job to help make ends meet.”

Personal Testimony: Christina Johnson

I live with my mom — it’s just the two of us now, but I will be moving out soon. I’m a program assistant at Migrant Head Start. Being a program assistant means I help with everything, I’m an “every woman.” Right now my focus is the preschool graduation ceremony.  We have watched these kids develop in our program and now we are sending them on to public school.  We have great hopes for these children. We believe they will use what they have learned with us to do well in public school.

I love my job. Every day I feel like I am helping someone, even if it is translating the word “apple” to “manzana” for a 2-year-old. I know at the end of the day that I have made a difference.

Right now I make $12.30 an hour. I’ve been working here for a year-and-a-half and I have just started the process of moving out of my mom’s house. I’m excited to move out, but I know that I will also have more bills of my own to pay now.

On top of all the regular bills, I also pay my student loans. I went to the College of Saint Rose and studied American Studies and Education. I am carrying over $27,000 in loans and my monthly student loan payment is $300. I got a great education, but now it’s difficult to find a job that pays a wage that I can support myself on, live independently, and pay back my loans.

Now, I am searching for a second job to help make ends meet. It can be discouraging to have a college degree and a job that I love but to know that it’s still not enough. One thing that I worry about: Even with a second job, I won’t make enough money to save anything for a rainy day. I just don’t let myself think too hard about what would happen in case of an emergency.

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Connecticut Equity Report

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