Race on LI: The Poverty Gap

In recent weeks, outrage over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer has rippled through the nation in demonstrations about racial inequality. Coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting minority communities, nextLI is exploring racial inequity on Long Island through the lens of data.

Here’s a closer look at the racial wealth gap on Long Island through a comparison of Black and white poverty rates using the most recent Census data available (2018):

Black Long Islanders (10.13%) are twice as likely to live under the poverty line than white Long Islanders (5.29%).

Despite being only 9.8% of Long Island’s total population, Black people disproportionately account for 15% of people in poverty.

The Census poverty thresholds for a one-person household and four-person household was $12,784 and $25,701 in 2018, with the premise that this is the amount of money needed to meet their basic needs.

That seems an unrealistic metric for those living in Nassau and Suffolk, where the average income was $105,000 in 2018. There are likely more residents whose struggle is not being captured in this snapshot.