Over the last generation, the New York metropolitan region has seen sweeping change, much of it for the better. We have caught up to the nation in private-sector job growth; more people are optimistic about their future; and the tri-state area is recognized as one of the world’s most economically vibrant regions.
Yet our success is fragile. The region has progressed as a whole, but too many people haven’t shared in this growth. Real incomes have actually declined over the last 25 years for the majority of families. Some of the fastest-growing problems are in our suburbs, not in New York City. And we are more vulnerable to disasters than ever before. Above all else, our governing institutions are failing to make the hard choices necessary to address our most difficult problems. These challenges threaten to squander our advantages and leave the region worse off a generation from now than it is today.
People are choosing to live here and the economy is flourishing.
More people live in poverty today than a generation ago, and the middle class faces wage stagnation and a crisis of affordability.
When incomes don’t keep pace with prices, or if the hassles of living here outweigh the advantages, it becomes harder to attract and retain talented workers.
In the second half of the 20th century, our suburbs grew quickly as residents abandoned cities. That pattern has been upended.
From the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to the devastation of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, catastrophic events have exposed the region’s vulnerability to disasters of all kinds.