Economic Security






 The Westchester County economy has lagged the nation in recent years, and though overall salaries and incomes are high, financial benefits are not equally available to all populations in the County. Additionally, the pandemic has been particularly hard on people of color, though most of the available data doesn’t yet show the full impact.

Indicators of overall economic health show a county that isn’t keeping pace. From 2001 to 2020, job growth in Westchester (7%) lagged the state (11%) and nation (15%). As the pandemic began, the County lost 9.2% of its jobs from 2019 to 2020, more than the nation (5.4%) and about the same as the state (9.1%).

Growing sectors in Westchester include Financial Activities (jobs up 52% from 2001-20), Health Care (18%), and Educational Services (17%). Some growing sectors pay high salaries, particularly Financial Activities, the highest paying sector at $154,700. The average salary across sectors was $84,800 in the County, higher than the state at $83,100 and much higher than the nation at $64,000.

But opportunities aren’t available to all. Unemployment in Westchester County was highest among African American workers at 7.5% in 2016-20, followed by Hispanic workers at 6.1%, and Asian and white workers both at 5.1% - figures that increased during the pandemic.

Business ownership in Westchester was also highly concentrated, with whites owning 79% of all businesses in 2017. Just 3% of businesses were owned by African Americans, 7.5% by Hispanics and 11% by Asians.

Median incomes in Westchester County were highest among Asian and white residents, at $137,800 and $115,900 in 2016-20, respectively, and lowest among Hispanic and African American residents, at $69,100 and $64,100, respectively. Females in Westchester earn, on average, 65 cents for every dollar earned by a male.

Westchester had an overall low poverty rate at 8% but poverty was higher among African American and Hispanic populations, at 15% and 13%.

These statistics all show the impact of a society that does not allow for full participation in the economy by people of color. While traditional explanations for employment rate disparities focus on education and training gaps, whites tend to be employed at higher rates than Blacks and other people of color at every education level (high school, some college, bachelor’s degree, etc.). This has led many researchers to focus on labor market discrimination as a primary cause of higher unemployment among people of color. African American workers across industries also tend to earn lower wages than their white and Asian American peers. The disproportionate and systemic incarceration of Black and Latinx males also plays a role.

Lower income leads to difficulty meeting basic needs. In Westchester County, 8% of households were food insecure in 2019, one percentage point lower than in 2013 and lower than the state and nation. However, participation in the federal nutrition assistance program (SNAP), was higher among African American (19%) and Hispanic (17%) households, compared to 5% of Asian and 4% of white households.

And when it comes to basic needs, housing in Westchester County is especially a challenge. With high housing costs and lower incomes among people of color, both renting and owning a home is more difficult.

In 2016-20, 50% of rental units in Westchester County were considered unaffordable for their residents. Rent consumed 37% of the income of African American households, compared to 33% of Hispanic, 27% of white and 25% of Asian household income in 2016-20.

Among homeowners, Westchester County homes were most unaffordable for Hispanic and African Americans. Measured as a ratio of home value to income, affordability was lowest for Hispanic homeowners (ratio of 5.6) and African Americans (5.4), followed by whites (4.2) and Asians (3.8).

It follows that homeownership rates were about half as high for African American residents (37%) and Hispanic residents (35%) as for white (73%) and Asian residents (64%).

And homelessness was much higher for African Americans in Westchester. In 2020, Westchester counted 362 homeless African American people, for a rate of 21 per 100,000 residents, nearly six times the rate for whites at 3.6 and more than triple the rate for Hispanics at 5.9.

In addition to policies and structures that limit employment and income, people of color experience housing discrimination and have historically been prohibited from living wherever they want and steered or required to live in specific areas, often those that are less affluent and desirable.





INDICATORS TREND | WESTCHESTER
Early Prenatal Care, by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Infant Mortality Rate, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels 0
Maintaining
Children Receiving Subsidized Child Care -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Disengaged Youth, Ages 16 to 19 -1
Decreasing
Single-Parent Families, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Single Female-Headed Households 0
Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income 0
Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate 1
Increasing
Voter Participation Rate 1
Increasing
Serious Crimes -1
Decreasing
Victims of Domestic Violence -1
Decreasing
Arrest Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households With Internet Access, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households without Vehicles -1
Decreasing
Means of Transportation to Work, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Air Quality 1
Increasing
Population Density 0
Maintaining
Water Quality of the Long Island Sound 1
Increasing
Open Space in Westchester County 1
Increasing
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Change in Population, by Age -1
Decreasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
People 65 or Older Living Alone 1
Increasing
Change in Total Jobs -1
Decreasing
Change in Jobs by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Average Salary by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Female to Male Earnings Ratio 0
Maintaining
Unemployment Rate, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Seniors Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
Seniors Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Food Insecurity -1
Decreasing
Households Receiving SNAP, by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Public Assistance 0
Maintaining
People Receiving Supplemental Security Income 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rate, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Rent Burdened Households -1
Decreasing
Homelessness, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Homelessness, by Sex 10 Not Applicable*
Per-Student Spending 0
Maintaining
Student Suspensions -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
College Enrollment Rate, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
People Without Health Insurance -1
Decreasing
Mortality Rate, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Mortality Rate from Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Diabetes Mortality, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Suicide Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*


Loading...