Manhattan's Millionaires-on-Paper (May Be Mostly In Brooklyn!)


In looking at the recent wild estimate that there are 667,200 “millionaires” in New York City-supposedly up nearly 20% from 2008-it’s important to pull back and look at what makes someone a millionaire on paper. The number one marker in New York City of this semi-mythical, marvelous status is home ownership.

We’ll do this in some very nice round numbers!

There’s 1.2 million houses in New York City, of the city’s 3.3 million housing units. (So: twice as many apartments as houses, basically.)

So, already, you know: someone owns 3.3 million housing units! Clearly lots of these are owned in big batches-landlords like Pinnacle, for a random example, own 21,000 housing units in different buildings.

Still, despite the big landlords, home ownership rate among all New York City residents is almost exactly 1 in 3.

(It skews hard by borough, obviously: in Staten Island, it’s more than 2 in 3; in Queens, it’s about 1 in 2; in Manhattan, it’s 1 in 4.)

Home owners are, unsurprisingly, way more likely to be wealthy. The median income of renters is around $36,000. (By the way, of all renters, nearly 1 in 3 pay more than half their income in rent.) The median income of a home owner is twice that of a renter.

In Manhattan, there’s about 750,000 households, where about 1.5 million people live. (There are something like 80,000 single-family dwellings-you know, “houses.” All told, about 150,000 of Manhattan’s housing units are owner-occupied. You can pretty much guarantee that anyone who owns a single-family dwelling in Manhattan is a millionaire.)

1.2 million of Manhattanites are over 18-and only about half of the people who are older than 25 have a college degree.

So we can discount from our “rich list” those without college degrees, pretty much, because, duh-which means that, eerily, the number of people who are allegedly millionaires-on-paper in New York City is almost exactly equal to the number of adults who reside in Manhattan who have a college degree.

So, wait, some of you are saying: I’m over 25 and have a college degree and I live in Manhattan and I’m not a millionaire!

That’s because you’re a disgrace. If you’re over 25, college-educated, a native English speaker, you reside in Manhattan and are not a millionaire? Technically you are a huge failure.

But don’t worry too much. The real reason you’re not a millionaire is because there’s apparently a really large number of millionaires-on-paper in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, obviously.