By the federal measure, 7.7 percent of New Yorkers were living in extreme poverty, meaning below 50 percent of the poverty line. By the city’s measure, 5.5 percent were in extreme poverty.
The number of New Yorkers classified as poor in 2010 increased by nearly 100,000 from the year before, raising the poverty rate by 1.3 percentage points to 21 percent — the highest level and the largest year-to-year increase since the city adopted a more detailed definition of poverty in 2005.
The center placed most of the blame on reduced earnings caused by higher unemployment during the recession, which struck in New York later than in the rest of the country. The analysis emphasized that the poverty rate would have soared higher — to 23.7 percent over all, and to 27.6 percent for families with children — without the expansion of government tax credits, food stamps and other benefits since 2007.