Bill de Blasio framed his mayoral campaign and victory as a major referendum on the income inequality that increased dramatically during the Bloomberg years. De Blasio said he would end the tale of two cities and unite New Yorkers around a new progressive agenda – a new vision of a more equitable and inclusive city.
In recent years, the rising cost and unavailability of affordable housing has been how many New York City residents have most acutely felt the effects of income inequality. In the twelve years that Bloomberg served as mayor, the median monthly gross rent for an apartment skyrocketed from $788 in 2002, the year he took office, to $1,216 in 2012, the year before he left office. This is a staggering 54% increase over the course of a single decade. According to the Furman Center, the median household income in New York City increased only 2% from 2005 to 2012.
This growing gap between high housing costs and low wages fuels the affordability crisis, especially among low-income and moderate-income New Yorkers. As rents go up while wages stay the same or decrease, housing becomes less and less affordable. The loss of real affordability exposes more residents and households to greater risks of displacement and homelessness.
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