Wed, March 04, 2009
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Middle class exodus from New York

2009-03-04 09:08:38 GMT2009-03-04 17:08:38 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

A new survey shows tens of thousands of New Yorkers are leaving the city because of the rising cost of living.

The Center for an Urban Future says more than 150,000 middle income residents left the city three years ago, and it forecasts the problem will worsen with the deepening recession. Fred Katayama reports from New York.

SCRIPT:

The movers are here, and New Yorker Nereida Garcia is moving out of the city she loves just as thousands of middle class people have before her. She lost her job as an executive assistant, so she's leaving for Florida.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) Nereida Garcia, New Yorkers, saying:

"I'm devastated. I don't want to leave New York. This is my home. (EDIT)There is no more affordable housing in New York city for the middle class, which is the backbone of this city."

People here face rents as high as skyscrapers, pricey schools and childcare services. New York is more than twice as expensive as the next costliest city, San Francisco. The Center for an Urban Future says more than 150,000 middle income residents left the city three years ago, and it forecasts the problem will only get worse with the deepening recession. Jonathan Bowles runs the center.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) Jonathan Bowles, director, Center for an Urban Future, saying:

"While it's always important to have high priced investment bankers here, it's really the middle class that runs so many industries, from publishing and film, to nurses and school teachers. Any city that doesn't have those people or can't sustain them, is going to suffer."

Amy Hargreaves says her family's budget is stretched.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) Amy Hargreaves, New Yorker, saying:

"It's really expensive, especially if you try to raise a family here. If you're lucky enough to be in a neighborhood with a good public school, then that's great. But if you want to pay for private school, it really costs more than your apartment."

To paraphrase a Billy Joel song, if that's moving up, many people are moving out.

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