SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– One in four people and one in four families lived in poverty in Syracuse in 2021 according to a new State Comptroller’s poverty report released on Thursday.

The report revealed that 13.9% of New Yorkers lived below the poverty line in 2021, 1.1% higher than the national average, ranking New York thirteenth for the highest poverty across the nation. According to the Census Bureau, the threshold for poverty in 2021 was $13,788 for one person and $27,740 for a four-person household.

Poverty rates were lower for Onondaga County as a whole sitting at 12.8% based on 2020 numbers. Neighboring counties in Central New York had similar poverty rates with Oswego County being the highest in CNY at 14.2%. 

The report examined the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on poverty and offered recommendations for federal and state governments moving forward.

Among the report’s findings:

  1. Poverty rates varied significantly across New York counties ranging from a low of 5.7% in Nassau and Putnam counties to a high of 24.4% in the Bronx. 
  2. Poverty rates are significantly higher in larger cities including Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester.
  3. Poverty rates are higher for children than for adults, including seniors but the poverty rates for seniors have increased between 2010 and 2021 while all other groups have decreased.
  4. Families with female heads of household experience poverty at more than two times the rate of all other families and four times the rate as married couples. 
  5. Black, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander and American Indian New Yorkers experience poverty at twice the rate as White New Yorkers. 
  6. More than one in four people with less than a high school degree experience poverty, a rate that’s five times greater as those with college degrees. 
  7. One in five New Yorkers in poverty has a disability.
  8. 25% of New Yorker’s living below the poverty level in 2021 was foreign-born compared to 15% nationwide. 

The Comptroller’s report made recommendations for both the federal and state level saying the response to combat poverty must be an intergovernmental effort. Among the recommendations were calls to continue and expand pandemic-era enhancements to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. At the state level, the Comptroller’s Office recommends a cross-agency response that includes the consideration of expanding several programs including the State EITC, the Empire State Child Credit and other housing and food assistance programs. 

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in an interview with NewsChannel 9: “It needs to be a joint effort federal and state and within the state it needs to be coordinated between the different state programs, the different state agencies so I’m hoping this information will inform the discussion for the broader public but most importantly we hope it will help influence the legislature and the governor as they work on a new session and a new state budget coming up.” 

New York State recently created the first-ever Child Poverty Reduction Advisory Council tasked with reducing childhood poverty by 50% over the next decade. Comptroller DiNapoli hopes this report will influence the work of the council moving forward. You can read the full report here.