The Drum Major Institute released a study titled "Saving Our Middle Class", which suggests that NYC's middle class continues to be under more and more strain. DMI surveyed a number of city leaders and found:
- It's harder to enter the middle class: 92% "agree that it is harder to enter the middle class today than it was ten years ago."
- They believe middle-class income is now between $75,000 and $135,000 for families of four (it's between $45,000 and $90,000 for single individuals), while NYC median income is $49,374 a year.
- Essentials of middle-class standards of living include health insurance, owning a computer with internet access, holding a full-time job, and sending children to a quality public school.
- Only a third found that owning a house, condo or co-op is a middle-class essential.
- Affordable rent and health insurance are big challenges for the middle classn.
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And the results were released during the DMI's conference about the middle class yesterday. In what the NY Sun and NY Times both called a preview of the 2009 mayoral race, City Comptroller William Thompson, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and Representative Anthony Weiner were present; City Councilman John Liu was also there (he wasn't mentioned in the Times). Wei! ner apparently sparred with both Liu and Carrion; Thompson wasn't on their panel, but he did mention the "barbell effect" - "low-income people and higher-income people expanding, and those in the middle being squeezed" (via the Times).
Baruch public-affairs professor Douglas Muzzio told the Sun the middle class "has to be" a major issue in the 2009 mayoral race.