A new study recently released by the Regional Plan Association has found that residents of the Bronx are more likely to get priced out of their neighborhoods than residents of any other borough in the city. Entitled “Pushed Out: Housing Displacement in an Unaffordable Region,” the study found that 71 percent of Bronx’s residents are at risk of impending displacement. As such, housing is becoming increasingly harder for low-income New Yorkers to find.
A Growing Problem
In order to write the report, the Regional Plan Association gathered data from shifting demographics in 31 counties across the tristate area. The study found that stagnant wages, surging housing prices and a general housing shortage is a widespread issue that doesn’t affect only the Bronx borough. It does, however, appear that the Bronx is the hardest hit. Brooklyn, which is hit the second hardest, has a significantly lower percentage when compared to Bronx with 55 percent of residents in danger of displacement. Manhattan and Queens are somewhat more stable, with both at 31 percent. Staten Island is in a much better position with just 15 percent of residents at risk of displacement, but the borough is still clearly not immune from the problem.
Examining the Data
According to the report, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens all saw a drop in the number of “very low-income households” in each borough between 2000 and 2015. For the purpose of the study, “very low-income households” are defied as those with an income of less than $25,000 unprotected by Section-8 or NYCHA public housing. The researchers also found that there was a drop in the number of households earning less than $100,000 per year. On the other end of the spectrum, there was actually an increase in the number of households making more than $100,000 per year.
When looking specifically at the Bronx, the researchers found that the growth came almost exclusively from people who are making more than $50,000 per year. Due to the large number of walkable, job-accessible neighborhoods within the borough, however, researchers believe the borough is poised for significant change in the near future. In fact, 44 percent of the tracts that are considered to be at risk are already seeing a shift toward pricier housing. Among those neighborhoods that have been the hardest hit are Concourse Village, Port Morris and Van Nest. In short, one of the reasons why a great deal of displacement is taking place in the Bronx is because there are still people left to displace, which isn’t necessarily true in much of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Overall, 56 percent of the households in the Bronx qualify as being “rent burdened, which means they are putting more than 30 percent of their income toward housing. Furthermore, 36 percent of the households bring home less than $25,000 per year. This doesn’t mean that the situation is hopeless, however, as there are several strategies that can be put in place in order to help combat displacements. Some of the recommendations put forward in the report include introducing new low-income housing subsidies, implementing more rent regulations and earmarking vacant land owned by the government for permanently affordable housing.