Where Millionaires Live -- And Where They Don’t

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Top 1% Concentrated in Manhattan and NYC Suburbs; Millionaires Less Than .1% In Upstate and Outer Boroughs; $5B tax cut for “Mostly Manhattan Millionaires”

New analysis of the state’s most recent public tax data by the Center for Working Families shows that those who make $1 million or more a year disproportionately live in Manhattan, Westchester and Long Island, with very few millionaires living in regions across Upstate New York or in the outer boroughs of New York City.

Of 32,810 New York tax filers who earned more than $1 million a year in the latest public records, 13,818 live in Manhattan – or 42% of all the state’s millionaires. Another 6,644 live on Long Island and 6,679 live in Westchester or Putnam Counties. In total, 83% of all million-a-year tax filers in the state live in one of these three regions.

These numbers are not much different when looking at filers who make $200,000 a year or more in taxable income. Of 306,361 filers in the $200K plus category, a full 67% live in Manhattan, Long Island or Westchester and Putnam Counties.

When you consider the number of millionaires along traditional upstate-downstate lines, including the outer boroughs and the Hudson Valley, you find 93% of millionaires live downstate.

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Looking at the millionaire numbers as a portion of all tax filers in each region shows the disparity in even greater detail. Only in Manhattan and Westchester do $1 million-a-year moneymakers eclipse 1% of all filers – 1.9% in Manhattan and 1.4% in Westchester. On Long Island .5% make more than $1 million and in the Hudson Valley it’s .2%. In the rest of the state, million-a-year incomes make up .1% or less of all tax filers. Put plainly: in most of the state, 99% of New Yorkers aren’t millionaires.

Particularly interesting are the similarities between the Outer Boroughs at .09% (Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island and Queens) and large regions of Upstate, including Central New York (.08%), the Southern Tier (.08%) and the North Country (.05%). Also, in each of these regions less than 2% make at least $200,000 per year.

The ultimate irony in the data is that many of the staunchest opponents to the tax on millionaires, including many Upstate State Senators, come from areas where millionaires make up an exceptionally small portion of the population. While many of the state legislators that represent millionaires, especially those in Manhattan, are the strongest supporters of extending the millionaires tax.

*Analysis based on 2008 income tax filings, which are the most recent returns made public by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

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