Information below was taken from the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011 Special Report on Poverty by UJA-Federation of New York in consultation with the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.  

Does Jewish poverty exist?
Yes. Due to popular stereotypes, many people think that Jewish poverty is an oxymoron; however, there are 333,000 Jewish people in the New York City area who live in poor households. There are also 174,000 “near poor” living in Jewish households in the eight-county New York area, who have incomes only marginally above the poverty line. This makes a total of 507,000 poor and near-poor people in Jewish households in the New York area.

Jewish Poverty has increased substantially in the last decade- a 50% increase since 2002, and a 100% increase since 1991.

How is poverty defined?
A poor household is a household whose annual income is less than 150% of the 2010 federal poverty guideline, rounded off to the nearest hundred dollars and slightly modified for one or two-person households with a senior resident. A near-poor household is a household whose annual income is between 150% and 250% of the 2010 federal poverty guideline, rounded off to the nearest hundred dollars. These levels are used because there is widespread agreement that 100% of the federal poverty guideline underestimates poverty in an urban area like New York, and 150% of the federal poverty guideline is in the range of several alternative measures of poverty that are gaining acceptance.

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Compared to the whole of New York City’s population living in poverty, what does Jewish poverty look like in New York City?
Jewish poverty in New York does not exist in a vacuum; it is subject to many of the same forces affecting the poverty experience of other residents of the New York area, such as the global recession and the resulting era of low wages and low economic growth paired with high unemployment. According to the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), more than 2.9 million people in the eight-county New York area live in households with incomes under 150% of the federal poverty guideline.  In percentage terms, this equals 25% of all people in the area. Thus the rate of poverty in the general community is somewhat higher than it is in the Jewish community: 25% in the general community compared with 20% in the Jewish community.

Jewish poverty has increased at a faster percentage change than the larger New York population.  In 2005, the earliest year for which comparable data is available, there were more than 2.6 million people at this poverty level — or 23% of all people in the area, compared with 25% in 2010. From 2002 to 2011, the percentage of people living in poor Jewish households has increased from 15% to 20%.