Nov. 30, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
The majority of Astoria residents are finding it tough to pay the rent each month and lack the funds to cover their living expenses for three months should an emergency strike, according to a new report.
The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development recently released a detailed study of the economic well being that residents in different parts of city face. The study is broken down by neighborhoods.
The study concluded that 49 percent of Astoria residents are rent-burdened, or pay more than 30 percent of their income towards rent.
The study also revealed that 58 percent of residents have inadequate emergency savings, meaning they could not cover three months of rent and living expenses out of their savings.
“Without sufficient emergency savings that cover at least three months’ worth of household expenses, families are at risk of eviction, foreclosure, and damaged credit,” the study points out.
The report compiled data from several censuses and city databases to analyze 20 different economic factors—from health insurance coverage to high school graduation rate–relevant to residents of each neighborhood. It then ranked the economic well being of residents based on each factor and put together a chart (see chart below).
“This chart helps residents, community groups, and officials learn about what’s happening in their neighborhoods, build power with other neighborhoods across the city to mobilize for change and get resources, and make informed decisions about equitable development in their local economy,” according to the authors behind the study.
According to the report, 17 percent of Astoria residents are living in poverty and there is a 6.1 percent unemployment rate with 14 percent of residents receiving food stamps or SNAP benefits in the neighborhood. It also shows that about 15 percent of residents do not have health insurance.
In comparison to nearby neighborhoods, Astoria is doing moderately well.
Sixty percent of Jackson Heights residents and 57 percent of Sunnyside/Woodside residents are rent burdened, compared to Astoria’s 49 percent.
About 83 percent of Astoria residents have a high school diploma or better, compared to 77 percent in Sunnyside and Woodside and 68 percent in Jackson Heights.
The chart shows a calculated score for economic opportunity in each neighborhood, with the best score at 24 and the worst at 76.
Astoria scored 42, putting it solidly in the middle two quartiles, which the chart labels as “moderate risk,” and on-par with nearby areas. The Bronx and Brooklyn both had quite a few areas that were scored as high-risk, or in the lowest quartile, while Manhattan had the most areas scored as low-risk, or in the top quartile.