Gotham Gazette

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Citizens Union

Can NYC Profile Young Muslim Males?

Earlier this month Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Councilmember James Oddo both suggested that random searches in the subway weren’t good enough; the police should target particular people. “When we look at the list of the most-wanted people by the FBI in terms of terrorism, they fit a profile," Hikind said. "They look a certain way, they are young, and they come from a certain part of the world.” Oddo was even more explicit in a commentary he wrote for the Daily News: "It is important to acknowledge that nearly every Jihadist who has engaged in terrorist attacks has been a young man who called himself Muslim - the common denominator among the recent bombings in London and Madrid, the 9/11 attacks, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the would-be millennium bombers, the destroyer Cole, the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Pan Am Flight 103, TWA Flight 847 and the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon.”

But even if the New York Police Department wanted to do so – and it has said clearly that it doesn’t -- profiling young Muslim males is virtually impossible. They are not as easy to spot as Oddo and Hikind seem to think.

Muslims live in most countries throughout the world. Click here for a chart that shows the countries with the highest Muslim population. China ranks ninth. Russia ranks 18th. Indonesia has the most absolute number of Muslims, more than 88 percent of their population is Muslim, and yet there are 30 countries that have a higher proportion of Muslims.

So, some Chinese New Yorkers may be Muslim, while some Indonesians may not be. But let’s take the 25 countries in which at least 50 percent of the population is Muslim. There are 231,000 New Yorkers who claim heritage from these 25 countries, as the following table shows.

Number and Percent Those With Muslim Country Heritage
Afghan 4,448 1.93%
Albanian 26,260 11.39%
Arab 14,766 6.41%
Bangladeshi 32,335 14.03%
Bosnian 2,838 1.23%
Croatian 11,971 5.19%
Egyptian 16,346 7.09%
Eritrean 323 0.14%
Indonesian 3,601 1.56%
Iranian 7,937 3.44%
Iraqi 1,006 0.44%
Jordanian 956 0.41%
Lebanese 11,332 4.92%
Malaysian 2,695 1.17%
Middle Eastern 1,075 0.47%
Moroccan 4,982 2.16%
Nigerian 16,904 7.33%
Pakistani 40,051 17.37%
Palestinian 3,334 1.45%
Sierra Leonean 795 0.34%
Somalian 17 0.01%
Sudanese 943 0.41%
Syrian 11,685 5.07%
Turkish 12,357 5.36%
Yemeni 1,578 0.68%
Total 230,535  

Some are black, some are Asian; more than 50 percent are white.

Muslims will be much more difficult to pick out from a New York crowd. They are not racially or physically distinct.

But even if one could pick out Muslims as they boarded the subways or airplanes, there is demographic evidence that it would be a wasted effort. When compared with other New Yorkers those whose heritage is a Muslim-majority country are richer, better educated and more likely to be married than other New Yorkers. Most are citizens.

Characteristics of Those With Muslim Country Heritage

Ancestry Muslim Country All Others
Male 55.8% 45.6%
Black 9.2% 28.9%
White 56.8% 47.3%
Asian 35.6% 10.1%
Other 14.6% 17.3%
Four Years or More College 37.3% 27.3%
Married With Spouse 61.3% 44.3%
Non-Citizen 43.7% 19.9%
Working 58.5% 52.9%
Owned House 25.7% 30.4%
Median Household Income $40,000 $37,000

This is also true of Arab-American New Yorkers , as I demonstrated previously.

Profiling by origin is the sort of policy that seems appealing during periods of stress and hysteria, but in hindsight is almost always seen as a mistake – such as the internment of Japanese-American during World War II. In this case, however, it wouldn’t even be possible.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and been in charge of Gotham Gazette's demographics topic page since 2000. The opinions expressed are his alone. 

Upstate And Downstate – Differing Demographics, Continuing Conflicts

The court fight over funding for public education in New York -- in which a judge agreed that New York City’s schoolchildren were being shortchanged in favor of schools throughout the rest of the state -- is just the latest and most visible example of the old and bitter relationship between upstate and downstate (which means both New York City and its suburbs). New conflicts arise; old ones never seem to die.

A look at the regions’ differing demographics helps explain why this relationship continues to be so difficult.

Downstate Grows, Upstate Does Not

New York City's population accounts for almost half of the state. Throw in Long Island and the northern suburbs (Westchester, Rockland and Putnam) and downstate accounts for almost two-thirds of the state. New York City is the states only "first class city." It is joined by four 2nd class cities, Yonkers (just north of the Bronx), Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. The few hundred thousand population of each of these cities is dwarfed by the size of New York City and its suburbs.

While New York City and its suburbs have been growing, the three upstate cities are hemorrhaging population, as is the entire region north and west of the Albany that contains them.

Largely this is due to the loss of the industrial base in Western New York State along with some redistribution of population from the old cities to the surrounding suburbs. These trends also affect the city and its suburbs, but newer economic opportunities in finance, higher technology and corporate headquarters offset the loss of industrial firms. These trends are unlikely to be quickly reversed. Western New York has been losing population for decades, and white and middle class flight to suburbs started even before World War II.

New York City is Diverse, the Suburbs and Upstate are Not

New York City is less and less like upstate New York and less and less like its suburbs. The racial and ethnic composition of the city is very different from the upstate cities, and even more different from the rest of downstate--the city's suburbs and the Hudson River Valley area.

While foreign born residents flocked to the city and suburbs, they have not changed the composition of upstate New York in any substantial way. So though New York City shares the foreign born population with its suburbs, the city's racial and ethnic diversity is much greater than either upstate or the suburbs.

New York is a foreign and minority city with high paying industries such as the financial sector. The rest of the state consists of rural and semi-rural areas mostly inhabited by native-born whites, mostly white suburban communities, and some declining industrial cities.

Not surprisingly, the rest of the state is either jealous of New York City's economic prowess, or suspicious or hostile to its largely minority and foreign residents, or both.

Money and Children Matter

The differences and trends between the city, the suburbs and upstate affect the money available for the city and elsewhere to provide needed services. They also affect where services are needed.

Plainly, resources are not as readily available for any of the cities to finance services such as education, as they are in the suburbs or the Hudson River Valley area. The state does make up some of the funding gaps for the upstate cities, but New York City with more than 42 percent of the city students still waits for the resources promised by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case. Meanwhile, the suburbs appear, in general, to have adequate resources.

The trends in young and new students mean declines upstate, and increases downstate, most particularly in New York City. In short, there are more educational needs and they continue to grow, in exactly those areas where resources that can be tapped to fund them are lacking. Even in the suburbs, the areas of high need and population growth (e.g. Yonkers) have few available resources. New York City depends the rest of New York State for its funding for needed resources. Its chance of success in getting these resources, even with a popular Republican mayor, seems very slim.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and provides expert testimony on a range of cases, including housing discrimination. The opinions expressed are his alone. 

Four Trends That Shape The City's Political Landscape

 The election of Antonio Villaraigosa as Mayor of Los Angeles encouraged Fernando Ferrer's campaign to rally Hispanic support. But it is not a strange kind of vanity that turned Michael Bloomberg into Miguel in some recent ads, as the billionaire's mayoral campaign started in earnest with television commercials in Spanish.

New York City is not like Los Angeles, where nearly 85 percent of all Hispanics are Mexican. There is a dizzyingly diverse mix of Hispanic immigrants in New York, and the various groups may not all respond to one ethnic appeal.

This diverse wave of immigrants to the city is one of four demographic trends that define New York City’s unique political landscape, all of which the candidates must understand, even if they have little power to change them.

Immigrant Waves

New York City's recent population growth was fueled by immigration. Without it, the city's population would not be near eight million. "Without the immigrants,” Mitchell Moss has said, “New York City would be Detroit," a city whose population is lower now than it was in 1930.

During the 1990s New York City continued to draw large numbers of immigrants with a variety of backgrounds, origins and economic status. Unlike virtually every other immigrant area in the United States, immigrants to New York City come from many different places:

  • older European countries such as Russia, Italy and Poland;
  • the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Haiti;
  • Asia, including China, Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India;
  • Central and South America, including Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia.

Some of these groups are better educated than others; some gravitate to the professions; some are self-employed. The economic status, family status and ratio of male to female vary widely from group to group. The immigrants in New York City today are much more segregated from the rest of the population and from other immigrant groups than were immigrants at the turn of the 20th century, and even groups from the same nation often gravitate to different locations.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani once remarked that he loved all immigrants, legal or illegal, but in recent years New York City, along with the rest of the country, has reversed that inclusive sentiment. After 9/11, the climate for undocumented foreign born, foreign students and foreign workers in New York City (as elsewhere) has worsened. Entering the country, either legally or illegally has become much more difficult, and undocumented immigrants have a harder time living here since they can no longer open bank accounts or obtain driver's licenses. It is possible that the immigrant waves have now slowed.

Racial Segregation and the Black Middle Class

The African Americans in New York City are highly segregatedfrom other groups. Within this segregation, there is a burgeoning black middle class in South Eastern Queens as well parts of the Northeast Bronx and recently the beginnings of one in parts of Harlem. Blacks in Queens have incomes at least on par with the whites living there, and the neighborhoods around St. Albans, Cambria and Laurelton are especially affluent and virtually 100 percent black. These areas contain highly mobilized and affluent potential supporters for any mayoral campaign. Many candidates have already recognized this constituency and sometimes visit the black churches in Queens on Sunday mornings in search of votes and contributions.

Rising Income Inequality

Areas of wealth exist around the boroughs, but New York City and especially Manhattan remain economically stratified with income inequalitydwarfing that of most third world countries. Neighbors and peers of Michael Bloomberg in the Upper East Side zip code of 10021 supplied the most political donations to both the Bush and Kerry campaigns in 2004 of any zip code in the country. The rich folks constituting the top 20 percent of Manhattan have about 50 times the income (over $350,000 on average) of the poor folks in the bottom 20 percent. Income inequality within the very small geographic area of Manhattan is a growing trend, and it seems there is little New York City can do about it.

Middle Class Exodus of People and Jobs

Many people of the middle and upper middle class are moving outside of New York City into the New York metropolitan area. The movement of people and jobs undoubtedly increased in the aftermath of 9/11, but the trend began in earnest after World War II, especially the more affluent who sought employment, housing, city services and improved quality of life outside of city limits.

New York City is increasingly the home of the foreign-born, as well as native-born African Americans and Hispanics. Such residents, in fact, are more and more in need of primary, secondary and higher education, decent health care, reasonable employment, public transportation, etc. While the wealthy take care of themselves and the middle class leave New York City, new residents and those on the bottom become the core recipients of vital city services and those most affected by changes to them. Yet, the city struggles to fulfill these needs, despite its disproportionate tax burden. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity school funding case, the abolition of the commuter tax, the crumbling city infrastructure and the big development plans both for Ground Zero and for the West Side contribute to the impression that New York City residents and their needs are subordinate to the interests of suburban and upstate residents.

It may not matter much whether Gifford Miller, Anthony Weiner, Virginia Field, Freddy Ferrer or Michael Bloomberg is elected, or which ethnic, immigrant or racial groups the candidates mobilize. New York City's needs will remain the same, and these same four trends will continue to shape the issues. Managing or overcoming the negative impacts of these trends will prove a daunting task for the next mayor, whoever that turns out to be.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and provides expert testimony on a range of cases, including housing discrimination. The opinions expressed are his alone.







New York's Responders and Protectors

They stand apart, the 70,000 or so people hired to respond to crises in the city, protecting the lives and property of New Yorkers – police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, FBI agents, and so forth. To many, especially since September 11th, they stand apart as heroes. To some, they stand apart as villains. But, looking at statistics from the 2000 Census, they stand apart from the average New Yorker in other ways as well. They are, for example, whiter, less educated, less likely to live in the city, and also more affluent than the average New York worker.

The Numbers

According to the Census, and departmental websites, there were about 40,000 police, and 11,000 fire fighters (including supervisors, but not including civilians), who were employed by and work in New York City. The census also found about 8,000 local corrections officers, as well as 11,000 protectors and responders employed by the state or Federal government working in the city. These presumably include officers from the Port Authority, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement agencies. There is substantial variation among these different workers, but, as a whole they are quite different from other city workers, including those who work in other agencies of local government.

Where They Live

About half the fire fighters, and two-fifths of the police, live outside the city, in areas very different from the neighborhoods they service. By contrast, one-sixth of other government workers and about one-fifth of all New York City workers live outside the city. As a result many more of the responders and protectors are more likely to own their own homes, be married and live with their spouses (firefighters especially) and drive to work.

Characteristics of New York City Responders and Protectors and Other Workers
NYC Police NYC Fire Fighters NYC Corrections State Federal Protectors Other Local Government Employees All Other Workers
A. Live and Work
% Live in NYC
% Drive to Work
% Married with Spouse
% Homeowners
B. Sex
% Male






% White
C. Background
% Hispanic
% Black
% Native Born
% Born New York State Born
% Irish Ancestry
% Italian Ancestry
D. Education and Income
% High School Grad
% College Grad
Median Age
Median Personal Income
Median Household Income


Race, Gender, Ethnic Origin

Unlike other workers, they are predominantly male, virtually all male in the case of the fire fighters. A higher proportion of the responders and protectors are native born, and a large fraction were born in New York State. A lower proportion of the police and especially the fire fighters are black than other protective workers, and a lower proportion of the fire fighters are Hispanic. Perhaps, it is not surprising that many fire fighters wanted to wear Tam O'Shanters again this year in the St. Patrick's Day parade, since almost half claim Irish heritage. The police, the fire fighters and the state and federal protective workers are more likely to be Irish than workers as a whole. Police officers and fire fighters also are more likely to claim Italian heritage.

New York City's fire fighters are virtually all white and all male. Indeed, the United States Department of Justice recently launched an investigation into hiring discrimination in the department. Now the department plans to spend $1.4 millionto do something about it.

Education And Income

Though virtually all protective workers are high school graduates, a lower proportion than other city workers and other workers in general have completed college. The protective workers do earn substantially more than other local government workers, or city workers as a whole, and their households also are much more affluent. In terms of pay and benefits, the protective occupations are quite well paid, and it is not surprising they are sought-after positions.

Analysis Notes

This analysis was done by using the occupation, industry, employer and place of work codes for the individual records in the five percent Public Use Micro-Data Sample (PUMS)from the 2000 Census, which provides individual and household level data. All figures are based upon this five percent weighted sample. The New York City Fire Department and New York City Police Department can be distinguished in this manner. Obviously there may have been some changes since April 2000 however the number of police and fire fighters estimated by the Census sample is almost exactly what the two departments reported in that year.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and provides expert testimony on a range of cases, including housing discrimination. The opinions expressed are his alone. 













Who Got The Death Penalty

New York State's death penalty law was in effect just short of nine years before the Court of Appeals struck it down for its "coercive jury instruction" last June.

While Governor George Pataki says he wants the death penalty restored, it is not clear that the death penalty will be made legal once again in New York. Opponents of capital punishment make many arguments - that it does not deter crime, that it is immoral for the government to kill people, even that it is expensive: before it was rule unconstitutional, only .11 percent of those arrested for murder faced the death penalty, and yet the costs of administration were in excess of $250 million per year. But the most passionate argument is probably the uneven way in which the death penalty is applied.

In New York State, those people who committed murders outside New York City, and those killing white victims, were much more likely to have been sentenced to death.

How Many Arrested, How Many Sentenced

Since 1995, when the death penalty was restored in New York, 6,545 arrests have been made for murder, according to statistics compiled by the Capital Defender Office.

Of these, 500 resulted in first-degree murder indictments.

Of these 500, 58 resulted in a "death notice" being filed - a notification by the prosecution that it may seek the death penalty.

Of these 58: 9 cases are still pending, 27 resulted in life without parole from a plea bargain; one defendant committed suicide in jail; one death notice was withdrawn, five were given very long sentences; and 15 so far have been given trials.

Of the 15 who have been given trials, One's sentence is still pending; one was acquitted; one was sentenced to 115 years to life; five were sentenced to life without parole

And seven defendants were sentenced to death.

All seven are still alive.

Where You Kill Makes A Difference

The chance of a first degree murder indictment turning into a death notice varies depending on where one is accused of doing the crime. Only six percent of the murder one indictments in New York City resulted in a death notice, compared to 23.1 percent upstate.

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Murder Arrests, Indictments, Death Notices and
Death Sentences by Region
Murder 1 & 2 Arrests*
Murder 1 Indictments
Murder 1 Indictments (% of Murder 1 & 2 Arrests)
Death Notices
Death Notices (% of Murder 1 Indictments)
Death Sentences
Death Sentences (% of Murder 1 Indictments)
Death Sentences (% of Death Notices)
New York City
Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester
Upstate - Rest of State
* Arrest data includes only those murders committed on or after 9/1/95 and excludes defendants under 18
Source: Capital Defender Office

The chance of being convicted and sentenced to death is much greater in the New York suburbs than elsewhere. (Given the few death sentences one should be cautious about drawing inferences about patterns, since the three death sentences in the suburbs all come from Suffolk and from three quite sensational cases. However, the use of a death notices certainly enhances the prosecution's chances of getting a long sentence from a plea bargain).

Race of Defendant, Race of Victim

Those accused of killing a white victim are more than twice as likely to receive a death notice than are those accused of killing only a non-white victim. Similarly they are twice as likely to go to trial and over five times as likely to receive the death sentence. These figures are statistically significant according to an analysis by David Baldus, an expert on the application of the death penalty.

Race of Victim and Race of Defendant and Capital Cases
Race of Victim Murder 1 Indictments Death Notices (% of Murder 1 Indictments) % of Murder 1 Indictments Death Sentence Trials Death Sentence Trials (% of Murder 1 Indictments) Death Sentences
Death Sentences (% of Murder 1 Indictments)
Race of Defendant
Source Capital Defender Office from Baldus Testimony, Modified

Because of the disparity in the application of the death sentence upstate versus downstate, and given the demography upstate versus downstate, blacks accused of murder are much less likely to receive the death sentence.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and provides expert testimony on a range of cases, including housing discrimination. The opinions expressed are his alone. 

















Wall Street Bonus Babies

Every year at this time, wine sellers take out their $500 bottles of Bordeaux; car dealers expect a rush on $100,000 Bentleys, Porsches and Lamborghinis; real estate agents witness perfectly normal-looking people plunking down several million dollars -- in cash -- to buy an apartment. “I call them ego apartments,” one agent told the New York Sun.

It is bonus time on Wall Street, and this year in particular, there are some very happy people, from luxury suit salesmen to municipal tax collectors; the total estimated amount of bonuses(In PDF format) given out this quarter for work done in 2004 is expected to be the second biggest in history -- $15.9 billion.

Officially, the average bonus on Wall Street is $100,000. But this is an example of when statistics bear little relationship to reality. The truth is that there are a relative handful of people who work on Wall Street who get bonuses, and what they get can be astronomical.

So who are the Wall Street bonus babies?

Overwhelmingly they are involved in securities and investments, according to an analysis of Census and other data. They either help make markets, make sales, make deals, or give advice – brokers, investment bankers, traders, financial analysts, financial advisers, portfolio managers, and a few chief executive officers.

Working on Wall Street does not guarantee a high income, as most any Wall Street secretary, food service worker, or techie can attest. So can the average auditor and accountant; one-quarter of the 11,000 auditors and accountants who work in the investment and securities industries in Manhattan make $38,500 or less; the worst-paid brokers make little more than that:

Income of Financial Occupations in Investment and Securities in Manhattan
Bottom Quartile
Top Quartile
General Manager
Financial Executive
Account, Auditor
Financial Analyst
Personal Financial Analyst
Other financial Occupation
Based Upon 2000 Census Data


The median income for the 23,000 highest earners on Wall Street – the ones most likely to get a year-end bonus – is so high that the U.S. Census Bureau stops counting after $347,000. For 2004, merger specialists expect to receive total compensation on average of $900,000, while commodities traders in oil and gas can expect to earn $1.3 million or more. Compare this to the median income for all other earners in the securities and investments industries – a mere $60,000. (The median income for all other workers in Manhattan was $35,000).

Bonus babies (many far from babies) are much more likely to be white, male and married, as the accompanying table makes clear. They are virtually all college graduates.

Workers in Financial Jobs in Securities and Investment Sector and Others in Manhattan
Top Earners
Other Earners
Other Manhattan Workers
Median Income
More Than $347,000
% White
% Hispanic
% Married with Spouse
% Male
% Born in United State
% At Least 4 Years College
Based Upon 2000 Census Data

And they almost all work in Manhattan. Pay in the financial services industry in Manhattan towers above that in all the other 3042 counties in the United States. Manhattan is the center of this whole industry. During the first quarter of 2003, the average wagespaid in that industry in Manhattan was $5,680 per week. Fairfield County in Connecticut, which includes Greenwich, was a distant second at $1,492.

The annual bonus can easily be 90 percent of the average investment banker's or bond trader's total annual income. An investment banking analyst right out of college will make about $65,000 salary, plus a $35,000 bonus, while an associate just out of business school might make $85,000 in salary and $115,000 in bonus. At the other end of the career ladder is Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, who made $20.1 million in 2003 -- only $600,000 of which was salary. That same year, E. Stanley O'Neal, chief executive of Merrill Lynch, made $500,000 in salary, but received a bonus of $13.5 million.

Since so much of their compensation is based upon bonuses, some of these highly paid executives and financial professionals have very volatile incomes. One year they make their base and several times that in bonuses; other years the bonuses may be much less than their base salaries, and during real down turns (such as existed in 2000 through 2002). they may face lay-offs.

The bonus-setting process is highly political and largely secret. Each group or division in a firm argues for bonuses based upon their "contributions" to earnings; then each professional argues for his or her share. So the relative size of each bonus indicates an employee's worth, while the money can affect his or her life-style immensely.

Members of the financial community are quite close mouthed when it comes to compensation, yet using the information we have we can make an educated guess about the size of an average or median bonus for a high earner in this sector. Let us assume that the 23,000 high earners split about three quarters of the $15.9 billion of bonuses. This would mean that the median bonus on Wall Street would be approximately a half a million dollars. But even here, one would expect a great deal of inequality. Some will make multi-million dollar bonuses; others will have to settle for a few hundred thousands. So these 23,000 very privileged New York workers really did find their fortune on Wall Street.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and provides expert testimony on a range of cases, including housing discrimination. The opinions expressed are his alone.

















Repealing the Urstadt Law

Ask most housing advocates what one move would improve the lot of tenants in New York City, and they would answer: Repeal of the Urstadt Law. The state law, which then-Governor Nelson Rockefeller pushed through in 1971, and which Governor George Pataki strengthened in 2003, is named after Rockefeller’s housing commissioner, Charles Urstadt. For more than three decades, it has effectively handcuffed the city when it comes to dealing with the main problems facing housing here -- rents and evictions.

That is because the law largely took control of rent regulation out of the hands of the city government and gave it to the state legislature. The legislature, a body with many representatives from upstate districts that have few renters, has weakened rent regulation laws year after year. Changes in the rent regulation laws have resulted in what some estimate to be more than 100,000 rent stabilized apartments in New York City becoming “decontrolled” – the rents hiked up to whatever the landlord wants to charge.

Advocates say repealing the Urstadt Law would give the city the power to keep rents affordable.

“In my mind, it is the only way to reverse the crippling of the rent and eviction protections that we’ve seen at the hands of the state legislature,” said Kenny Schaeffer, vice chair of the Metropolitan Council on Housing. “Right now, the City Council’s hands are tied. The rent stabilization laws have had so many holes poked in them by the state legislature that they’re dying a death of a thousand cuts.”

Revoking the city’s control over rent laws was a strategic political move Rockefeller made to help in his re-election campaign, recalled Michael McKee, associate director of Tenants and Neighbors. As a result, it led to four sets of laws that fill hundreds of pages noted for their complexity, if not incomprehensibility.

There are state rent control laws and city rent control laws, state rent stabilization laws and city rent stabilization laws. Over the years, these have been revised and sometimes rewritten. Some of the laws are specific to New York City while others apply to smaller cities. The laws have spawned thousands of pages of commentary and doubtless assured the employment of many attorneys, legal journalists and, yes, even housing advocates. It takes years to figure out just what the different laws say and how they are applied in practice

Reclaiming home rule over rents and evictions would make understanding those laws easier, McKee said, in addition to making housing advocates’ work less onerous.

“We have a rent regulation system that makes no sense at all,” McKee said. “It’s a patchwork quilt that no one understands.”

Repealing the Urstadt Law would not create a “paradise” for tenants, McKee said, but would help them be more effective.

“Tenants will still have to organize and put pressure” on elected officials, McKee said. “But at least we won’t have to fight a two-front war. Especially in years where the (state’s and city’s) laws sunset at the same time. From an organizers point of view it’s a nightmare. People say, ‘I thought the laws just got renewed, why do I have to go to Albany?’”

Political considerations could make a repeal of the Urstadt Laws possible this year, Schaeffer said. Record homelessness, high rents and the continued loss of rent regulated apartments have put affordable housing firmly on the political agenda and the mayoral election will only increase the pressure for solutions.

At the same time, Democrats scored significant victories in last November’s elections to diminish the Republican majority in the State Senate. Those victories have led Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno to compromise more readily on progressive issues. A higher minimum wage and less draconian drug crime punishments are some of the results of the new political realities for Bruno.

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said in the past he supports a repeal of the Urstadt Law, McKee noted that he was silent when Pataki strengthened the law in 2003. Tenants have not forgotten, he said.

“Even when Pataki pushed, there wasn’t a squawk from the mayor, he didn’t say a word,” McKee said. “And we are fed up with this posturing in City Hall.”

People gather at City Hall February 2 in support of affordable housing and in protest of the Urstadt Law.

A rally planned for Feb. 2 is meant to send that message loudly and clearly to politicians. The rally on Brooklyn Bridge will call attention to affordable housing, and specifically three actions that would allow the city to address the problem: Making sure that a significant portion of Battery Park Authority funds actually finance affordable housing construction as originally intended; Persuading the city to adopt inclusionary zoning that would allow developers to build higher density developments in return for setting aside a percentage of the units for affordable housing; And calling for a repeal of the Urstadt Law.

Joe Lamport is the assistant director of the City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court, a coalition of community housing organizations.















New York Lawyers: A Profile

Think “New York Lawyer” and it is easy to picture a partner who earns $1.391 million a year (which was the average compensation for a partner in a top New York law firm in 2003, according to the American Lawyer). Even first-year associates – people just out of law school – can make up to $150,000 a year. The top earners make more than anywhere else in the United States, and there are so many more of them in New York. The largest New York firm, for example -- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom -- employs some 1,700 attorneys, 350 of whom are partners who each made $1.6 million last year. Is it any surprise that New York is often seen as the major center of the legal profession.

But there were 57,000 practicing lawyers in New York City in the year 2000, according to the U.S. Census, and, as several recent stories make clear, they are not all doing the same thing. The Legal Aid Society, the “main legal provider for New York City’s poor,” as it was described in a recent New York Times article detailing how it was recently saved from bankruptcy, employs 1,396 people (not all of them lawyers of course). There are many other non-profit legal service providers; three recently received a court victorythat will allow them to serve their poor and immigrant clients more effectively, according to Newsday – making it easier, for example, to file class action lawsuits.

So what would a portrait of New York lawyers really look like?


Nearly half of all New York lawyers work in Manhattan.Only a quarter live there.

So where do the rest live?

More than half live in the suburbs. Chappaqua, Hastings-on-Hudson, Rye and Scarsdale have high concentrations of lawyers, as does Newstead, New Jersey. In Long Island, the North Shore (Great Neck and Manhasset) and South Shore (Hewlett Bay Park and Hewlett Harbor) of Long Island have relatively high concentrations.

Where Lawyers and Other Work in NYC Metro Area
Where They Live
Where They Work
All Other BA +
All Other BA +
Outside of Area
Outer Boroughs


In New York City, there are large concentrations of lawyers in areas in the Upper West and to a much greater extent on the Upper East Side, downtown near the river and Battery Park, as well near Astor Place. In Brooklyn, there are large concentrations in Brooklyn Heights and somewhat lower ones in Park Slope.

Interestingly, the highest concentration of lawyers living in New York City is in Forest Hill Gardens, a community with private streets just beyond the LIRR tracks and east of 71st Street in Queens.


Of the 57,000 lawyers practicing in New York City in 2000, 87 percent were white; only six percent were black. Compare this to all New Yorkers who have at least a B.A. and are employed – 70 percent of these are white, and 12 percent black.

Thirty-six percent of New York lawyers are female (compared to 47 percent of employed college graduates as a whole). Only four percent of lawyers are Hispanic (compared to eight percent of employed college graduates as a whole.)

Eighty-seven percent of New York lawyers have always lived in the United States, and 84 percent speak English at home. Over 60 percent of lawyers are married and living with their spouses (compared to 50 percent of the employed college graduates as a whole), and 62 percent own their own residences. New York lawyers may be diverse, but it is clear they are more affluent than average.


The median income for New York Lawyers in 1999 was $100,000. That means that half made more and half made less. This vastly exceeds the $46,000 median income for other employed college graduates. More recent data suggest some modest increases for both lawyers and others. In the 1990s for the US as a whole, lawyers median income exceeded that of doctors for the first time. This is also true in New York City, where the median income of physicians is $80,000.

One-quarter of all lawyers made $280,000 or more, while one-quarter made $50,000 or less. The median income of male lawyers is $107,000; for female lawyers it is $75,000.

Earnings of Lawyers Working in NYC
Bottom Quartile
Top Quartile
All Lawyers 51,180 $50,000 $100,000 $280,000
Self-employed, not incorporated 13,844 $40,000 $95,000 $280,000
Self-employed, incorporated 4,792 $70,000 $120,000 $347,000
Private firm employee 29,822 $55,000 $100,000 $160,000
Non-Profit org employee 1,497 $41,000 $65,000 $77,000
Federal govt employee 139 $50,000 $58,000 $58,000
State govt employee 385 $35,600 $45,000 $77,000
Local govt employee 701 $47,000 $73,000 $80,000
Male 35,478 $57,000 $107,000 $280,000
Female 15,702 $43,000 $75,000 $125,000

Lawyers in the private sector earned the most. Among those who are self-employed but incorporated, lawyers with their own practice, the median income was $120,000 and those in the top quarter made at least $347,000. Those who are self-employed, but not incorporated made somewhat less, while those working for private employers, including law firms, had a median of $100,000 and those in the top quarter made at least $160,000. Such lawyers are predominantly associates not partners of law firms, so they earn salary and bonuses but do not get a share of the profits. The self-employed lawyers may more likely be in such areas as divorce, personal injury and class action, where the practices are relatively small, but the possibility of a multi-million dollar payday exists.

The census did not release information about the actual earnings of those making more than $627,000. Such respondents were “top-coded,” their income was reduced to a figure that represented the cut-off for the top three percent of all earners. The American Lawyer does published data on the top 100 law firms in the United States, the Am Law 100. Using those data, one finds that the 3,276 partners (about seven percent of New York’s lawyers) of the 23 New York firms making that list split about $4.6 billion dollars in 2003, for an average compensation of $1.391 million dollars. The average was highest at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz, where the 78 partners averaged $2.585 million. Indeed, 18 of the top 23 firms had average partner compensation in excess of a million dollars.

New York Law Firms In The American Lawyer 100 in 2003 (Adapted from the American Lawyer, July 2004)
Average Compensation
Per Partner
Total Partners
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Cahill Gordon & Reindel
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Davis Polk & Wardwell
Sullivan & Cromwell
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Schulte Roth & Zabel
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
Willkie Farr & Gallagher
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Debevoise & Plimpton
Shearman & Sterling
Kaye Scholer
Proskauer Rose
Dewey Ballantine
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan
Chadbourne & Parke
Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker

Those lawyers working for the government or a non-profit agency earn substantially less. Indeed, the median income for lawyers employed by non-profits was $65,000. For those working for New York State, the median was $45,000; for those working for the city government, it was $73,000; for those with the federal government, it was $58,000.

Included among these lawyers are the public defenders, the legal aid lawyers, the prosecutors, as well as those working for various public interest entities, such as the ACLU and others.

So, clearly, a monolithic image of the New York lawyer is just as inaccurate and unfair as most lawyer jokes. Of course, the trouble with lawyer jokes is lawyers don't think they're funny, and nobody else thinks they're jokes.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and provides expert testimony on a range of cases, including housing discrimination. The opinions expressed are his alone. 


























Bush Does Better, and Other Election Results In NYC

Among the thousands of Americans posting pictures of themselves apologizing to the world for the election of George W. Bush on SorryEverybody.comare surely a sizeable number of New Yorkers. After all, three quarters of the voters in New York City, we have been told again and again since November 3, pulled the lever for John Kerry for president. But this, as it turns out, may be even less than the slim consolation it has been for Kerry supporters this month. The fact is, Bush did better in New York City than he did four years ago.

Bush had a total of 544,359, or 24.5 percent of the vote in New York City. In 2000, he had only 18.2 percent.

Kerry received 74.3 percent; in 2000, Gore received 77.9 percent. The percentage for Bush increased in every borough except Manhattan. Bush actually received the majority of voters in Staten Island (56.7 percent). In 2000, Gore received the majority.

Indeed, looking at all 3142 counties in the United States, Staten Island had the 20th highest increase in support for Bush. Brooklyn had the 105th highest increase.

Nationally, Bush did better among every category of voter except the young and very old (over 85.) Why should we expect New York City to be any different?


Election Results 2004
Borough Kerry Bush Nader Others Kerry 2004 vs.
Gore 2000
Bush 2004 vs.
Bush 2000
Kings 74.1%
New York 81.7%
Queens 70.8%
Richmond 42.1%
Total 74.3% 24.5% 1.0% 0.3% -3.6% 6.2%


Election Results 2000
Borough Gore Bush Nader Others


Kings 80.6%


New York 79.8%
Queens 75.0%
Richmond 51.9%
Total 77.9% 18.2% 3.3% 0.5%


Much has also been made of the higher turnout – that whatever the results of the election, the high turnout showed that democracy works. It is true that turnout did go up a bit – 46.5 percent of those eligible, compared to 45 percent in 2000 – and it increased in every borough but Staten Island. The fact is, though, that, as usual, more New Yorkers who are eligible to vote stayed home than voted; New York City is still a non-voting town. The reports of long lines at the polls seem to be the product of early voting or a badly administered election, rather than a massive increase in turnout. And, remember, many more people go to the polls in a presidential election than in any other race.


Turnout Estimates 2002 and 2004
Borough Vote 2004 Est Citizen Voting Age Pop 2004 % Turnout 2004 Total vote Est Citizen Voting Age Pop 2000 % Turnout 2000 Change in Votes Change in Turnout
Kings 631,774
New York 574,109
Queens 555,573
Richmond 148,660
Total 2,226,380 4,788,780 46.5% 2,186,436 4,856,143 45.0% 39,944 1.5%


The Exit Polls

Blue-staters seem to be taking this electoral loss much harder than many in the past, and one reason may be that, on Election Day itself, it looked as if Kerry might win. Throughout the afternoon, bloggers and others offered the results of early exit polls that showed Kerry building a large lead in many of the swing states.

But by that night, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and New Mexico had turned from blue to red, and the count was much closer than the exit polls suggested in Michigan, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Kerry went from being a shoo-in to being a loser, and his predicted two-percent vote lead became a three percent loss. How did this happen? At this writing no one knows. Indeed, a recent paper “The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy” (In PDF format) by Steven F. Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania pulls together the exit poll data and eventual tallies in the battleground states. His conclusion: “. . . two broad categories of explanations: the polls were flawed or the count is off.” At this point, since the raw data have not been released, it is impossible to conduct further analyses and definitively answer that question.

Flawed Voting Process

However, the election of 2004 was not free of the problems that made the election of 2000 so controversial. Once again, election officials were accused of being partisan, and of suppressing the vote of the opposition. Ohio’s Secretary of State tried to make it harder for new registrants to be added to the voting roles, originally voiding voter registration applications printed on the back of fast food restaurant menus because the paper was “too thin.” Other evidence of voter suppression -- not having enough voting machines in poor and black areas, so that the voter lines lasted for hours. In 2004, such suppression probably did not cost Kerry the popular vote majority, but it certainly could have cost him Ohio, and thus the election.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and provides expert testimony on a range of cases, including housing discrimination. The opinions expressed are his alone. 
















The Citizen

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The Citizen

New York's Creative Class

New York City is a world center for the creative arts: drama, music, dance, entertainment of every kind, art, photography, writing and publishing. Those hoping to be successful in these fields flock to New York City. These creative New Yorkers make the city distinctive in many ways - not just as a cauldron for innovation in the arts, and a magnet for tourism and conventions, but also as an engine of the economy: A new study for Lincoln Center found that the arts complex generated $1.52 billion in sales and employed 15,200 workers. Some argue that urban economic development and growth depend upon "The Creative Class."

Who are the individuals that make New York City the creative center that it is? Where do they come from, how are they faring? By analyzing census data we can get some answers.

How Many Are There? Where Do They Live?

Those who work in the creative and performing arts make up less than one percent of those who either worked or lived in the New York City metropolitan area, according to the 2000 Census. These included:

  • 34,066 artists
  • 28,682 writers and authors
  • 22,860 musicians or singers
  • 14,318 photographers
  • 11,346 actors
  • 3,684 dancers and choreographers

And 4,394 other entertainers.


Over a quarter of the people in these groups made their home in Manhattan, including 56 percent of all actors and 41 percent of all dancers.

This is sharp contrast to New Yorkers over all; only eight percent of people who either work or live in one of the five boroughs, reside in Manhattan.

Wherever they live, most creative professionals work in the city -- 73 percent of actors, 70 percent of dancers, 55 percent of artists -- most of these in Manhattan.

Who Are They Ethnically, Etc.?

A higher fraction of New York City's creative workers are white (e.g. actors 82 percent, artists 80 percent) than are other workers (51 percent).

Dancers are more likely to be female, but photographers and musicians are more likely male. A higher proportion than other New York City workers have never married. Members of the creative class are much better educated than other New York City workers, except for dancers; a much greater proportion finished at least four years of college. It is clear that many move from other parts of the United States to New York for their art. Fewer than average were born in New York State, but much more than average were "native-born", born in the United States, as opposed to abroad.


Struggling Or Thriving?

There are large differences among the various creative fields in terms of whether they worked at all "last week". About 28 percent of all actors did not work in the last week - the largest proportion out of work. Except for dancers, those in creative fields were more likely to have worked in the last year than other New York City workers.

However, the creative worker, except for artists and writers, earn less than the average New York worker; actors and dancers earned the least.

Considering how well educated the creative workers are they do not earn what their skills and background would command in more conventional fields. The average New York worker earned $29,000 in 1999. By contrast, one quarter of all actors earned $9,000 or less. Except for writers, the bottom quarter of each creative group earned less than did the bottom quarter of all New York City workers.

On the other hand, it really is possible to hit it big in New York in the arts. The top quarter of most creative groups earned as much or more than the top quarter of New York City workers as a whole. Some musicians and singers and artists reached the maximum reported income in New York in 1999, $627,000. (Of course, this represented just a small number, and it is not clear how accurate the numbers; the very wealthy among any group are well known to be much harder to reach and much less likely to give full information about their income.)

Generally, though, the creative in New York City, especially actors and actresses, earn less than the average New Yorkers, much less than New Yorkers of similar education and skill level. Some exist on very meager incomes and supplement their earnings from creative endeavors with that from waiting on tables, driving taxis, working in telemarketing and so on.

A few earn phenomenal amounts of money and live the celebrity dream, and a few more become quite successful and live comfortable upper middle class lives. But for the most part, if New York City's creative workers are a driving force for urban development, they are not the main beneficiaries.














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