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New York City Poverty Rate Rises As Gap Between Rich And Poor Widens

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New York City's poverty rate rose for the third straight year, with nearly 74,000 more people falling below the poverty line in 2011, according to a new Census Bureau data set to be released Thursday.

One must make less than $11,500 a year to be considered living in poverty; $23,021 for a family of four.

The New York Times reports an estimated 21 percent of New Yorkers are now considered poor, while many of the city's richest only grew richer. The disconcerting report reveals a widening income gap comparable to income gaps in sub-Saharan African countries.

Manhattan saw the largest jump in impoverished residents with an increase of 1.9 percent from the previous year. Bronx had the highest rate with 30.4 percent of its population living in poverty.

According to 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."

A spokesperson for Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday's report mirrored a national trend. "The U.S. economy has shifted and too many people are getting left behind without the skills they need to compete and succeed," the spokesperson said.

(Since March of this year, Mayor Bloomberg's own net worth has climbed from $22 billion to $25 billion, according to Forbes.)

Last week, a national report measured 46.2 million people to be living in poverty in the United States. While still high, the unemployment rate had improved to 8.9 percent from 9.6 percent the year before.

New York City's unemployment rate is above the national average at 10 percent.

Earlier in September, city records showed the number of homeless children living in shelters climbed to 19,000, a statistic that rivaled Great Depression numbers. Nationally however, the child poverty rate staved off any major increases.

In 2010, one in every five city residents were found to be living in poverty with a greater effect on children under 18.

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