As in the Past, This Disaster Crisis Highlights Our Economic Divisions
Hurricane Sandy—like others before it, in different ways—has cast in sharp relief the economic divides that we may take for granted, even in crisis. David Rohde writes at Reuters that in New York City in particular, the divide was made clear as those with means hunkered down and those without couldn't afford to:
Those with a car could flee. Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city’s cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home.
New census data shows that the city is the most economically divided it has been in a decade, according to the New York Times. As has occurred across the country, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Twenty-one percent of the city is in poverty, and the median household income decreased by $821 annually. Per the Times: “Median income for the lowest fifth was $8,844, down $463 from 2010. For the highest, it was $223,285, up $1,919.”
By the way, that's not really news. Those specific figures may be new, but we've known about the growing divide for a long time—and we know that in economic recovery, statistics tell us that it's likely to get even worse.