How Many Homes & Apartments in New York City Sold in Recent Years for More Than $2 Million?

How Does the Condition of the City’s Public Housing Rate Based on the Most Recent Federal Inspections?

With Sexually Transmitted Disease Cases Rising in New York City, What Happened to Spending on Treatment and Prevention?

Good, Fair, or Poor: What’s the Condition of the City’s Streets?

The Department of Transportation repairs and maintains the city’s streets. To fulfill this task, the department performs an ongoing street quality assessment and rates sections of every street in the city on an 18-month rolling basis on a scale from 1 to 10. Ratings are categorized into “poor” (1-3), “fair” (4-7), and  “good” (8-10), with the exception of local streets for which a rating of 7 is deemed “good.”

Neighborhood Street Ratings with Borough and Citywide Rankings


  • Based on ratings from 2014 and 2015 and weighted by their square feet, 70.2 percent of the city’s streets are in good condition, 29.2 percent are in fair condition, and 0.6 percent are in poor condition. Street conditions citywide have trended downward somewhat since 2012, according to the Mayor’s Management Report.
  • Brooklyn streets are in the best shape with 75.1 percent of its streets rated as good, followed by Queens with 71.0 percent and the Bronx with 68.5 percent. Manhattan and Staten Island are the boroughs with the fewest streets in good shape—only 66.3 percent and 59.6 percent, respectively.
  • Citywide, the neighborhoods with the best ratings are Fort Greene (89.3 percent good), Starrett City (86.5 percent), and Williamsburg (86.3 percent), all of which are located in Brooklyn. The neighborhoods with the worst street quality are Kew Gardens in Queens (28.2 percent good), Parkchester in the Bronx (30.3 percent), and Seagate-Coney Island in Brooklyn (35.0 percent).


Prepared by Giovanella Quintanilla Re
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

New York City By The Numbers

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How Does Sick Leave Usage Vary Across the City’s Workforce?

The use of sick leave by municipal employees varies widely among  agencies. Uniformed employees in the fire, correction, and sanitation departments tend to use sick leave at higher rates than other city workers. Some of the difference is attributable to the type of work done by uniformed staff and the greater likelihood of on-the-job injury. Another factor may be the unlimited sick time provided to uniformed city employees. Sick leave usage by uniformed employees is a key driver of city overtime spending—a set number of workers are needed, for example, for patrol cars or fire and sanitation trucks whether or not the regularly scheduled employees make it to work.

  • The recently released Mayor’s Management Report for Fiscal Year 2016 shows that uniformed police and fire personnel on average use sick leave unrelated to on-the-job injuries at a lower rate than their correction and sanitation department counterparts. Excluding days off for injuries on the job, police officers and firefighters also use sick leave less frequently than civilian employees. Still, firefighters are the most likely to be absent when factoring in leave that stems from work-related injuries.

  • Sizable shares of police officers and firefighters (48 percent and 31 percent, respectively) used no sick leave of any sort in 2016. An additional 6 percent of police officers and 26 percent of firefighters only took sick leave due to on-the job-injuries. Conversely, 92 percent of correction officers and 90 percent of sanitation workers used at least some amount of sick leave for reasons other than being hurt on the job.

  • In all four uniformed agencies, a small subset of personnel accounted for a disproportionate share of sick leave use not attributable to line-of-duty injury. The top 10 percent of uniformed personnel in terms of taking routine sick leave accounted for at least half of all sick leave use in their agencies. Each of the uniformed agencies monitors sick leave usage to minimize abuses. Uniformed personnel who are chronically absent may be subject to home visits to verify their condition and may also face the loss of certain discretionary benefits and privileges such as eligibility for assignment to special units or commands.

Prepared by Bernard O’Brien
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

New York City By The Numbers

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How Much Do Yesterday’s 421-a Tax Exemptions Cost Us Today?

When representatives of the real estate industry and construction unions failed to reach an agreement over wages in January, the 421-a tax benefit program came to a halt for the construction of new multifamily housing. This meant the program, which provided property tax exemptions with benefit periods ranging from 10 to 25 years depending on when and where a building was constructed, was no longer available for new projects. But just because the program was suspended does not mean the city is off the hook for previously granted tax breaks. In 2017, the current fiscal year, the city will forego $1.4 billion in property tax revenue due to exemptions granted in prior years—in some instances two decades ago. The last of the properties awarded 421-a benefits before the program’s suspension are not expected to fully return to the property tax roll until 2044.

While state and local policymakers are seeking ways to resuscitate the program or create a new variation, IBO has tracked how long ago the exemptions that result in tax expenditures in a given year were granted.

  • The overwhelming majority of 421-a tax expenditures in any given year are for properties that have been awarded benefits in prior years. Since fiscal year 1998, only 16 percent of the total tax expenditure awarded each year on average is attributable to newly exempted properties.
  • For the 2017 tax roll, $94.2 million in new 421-a tax expenditures were added, the largest volume increase since 2013 and $14.2 million greater than the 20-year average.
  • Of the 2017 tax expenditure, $547.5 million is due to exemptions that started in fiscal years 2007 through 2011, the latter being the year with the most-new exemptions granted (in nominal terms) in the history of the program.
  • Buildings that started construction after 2008 are subject to a cap on the amount of value exempted regardless of appreciation. However, for older buildings the value of the exemption can continue to grow as properties appreciate. This results in an increasing share of the tax revenue in recent years coming from exemptions that were granted more than 10 years ago. In recent fiscal years there has also been some shift in the share granted 1 to 5 years earlier to the the share granted 6 to 10 years earlier as the bulge in exemptions granted in 2010 through 2012 age.

Prepared by Geoffrey Propheter
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

SOURCE: Department of Finance

New York City By The Numbers

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Which Sections of the City Generate the Most & Least Complaints to Graffiti-Free NYC?

Graffiti-Free NYC is a city program that removes graffiti at no cost to the owners of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Anyone can report graffiti on any property by calling 311. The program is run jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, Department of Sanitation, and the Community Affairs Unit of the Mayor’s office.



  • Since fiscal year 2011, Graffiti-Free NYC has received an average of 14,916 complaints a year. But the numbers of complaints citywide are declining, from 15,393 in 2011 to 13,415 in 2016.
  • In 2016, the heaviest concentrations of complaints were in Central and Southwest Brooklyn and in Lower Manhattan. Complaints have been largely down in the rest of the city since 2011, particularly in the South Bronx and Queens.
  • In 2011 through 2013 it took an average of 67 days from receipt of a graffiti complaint for Graffiti-Free NYC to send a team to clean the site. In 2014 and 2015 it took an average of 114 days for a response (data is not complete for 2016).
  • The increased response time may mean owners or neighbors are taking matters into their own hands. The percentage of complaints that resulted in graffiti removal has declined from 84 percent in 2011 to 62 percent in 2015 as cleaning crews responding to complaints increasingly find no graffiti at the reported location.
  • The budget for Graffiti-Free NYC from fiscal year 2011 through fiscal year 2016 has averaged $1.9 million annually, with the majority of the funding in recent years coming from a federal grant program. While the federal funding is no longer available, the Mayor has increased the city funding for the program to $2.5 million in 2017.

Prepared by Daniel Huber
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Sanitation data
NOTE: Map divisions are based on City Council districts.

New York City By The Numbers

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Does Firm Size Matter When It Comes to Wage Levels and Employment Shares?

The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data produced by the New York State Department of Labor shows that there are 226,900 private firms in New York City with about 3.8 million workers on their payrolls. IBO has grouped these establishments into four categories based on the number of workers they employ to look at how sector and wage profiles differ among firms of different sizes.

Employment and Wages by Business Size, 2013
  Establishments Employment Total Wages
Very Small Businesses
(<20 Employees)
88.3% 22.3% 14.4%
Small Businesses (20-99 Employees) 9.6% 22.8% 20.5%
Medium Businesses (100-499 Employees) 1.8% 21.0% 23.9%
Large Businesses (≥500 Employees) 0.3% 33.9% 41.2%
New York City Independent Budget Office
  • A vast majority (88 percent) of businesses in the city employ less than 20 workers, while businesses employing 100 or more workers account for only 2 percent of all establishments.
  • Large businesses employ over one-third of all workers, with the remaining employees almost equally distributed across very small, small, and medium-size businesses.

IBO also classified businesses by their average hourly wages and industrial sector. By grouping businesses by average wages (low, medium, and high) and firm size (very small, small, medium, and large), we can see how closely their shares of employment and wages match.


  • Very Small businesses have a relatively small share of total wages (14 percent) compared with their share of employment (22 percent). Just over half of the 844,000 workers in these very small firms (51 percent) are employed in low-wage industries. This includes 182,000 who work in wholesale and retail trade. An additional 113,000 work in leisure and hospitality and 91,000 more are employed in other services.
  • In contrast, the share of wages paid by the city’s small businesses (21 percent) is much closer to these firms’ share of total employment (23 percent). Almost half of the 866,000 employees of small businesses work in low-wage industries such as leisure and hospitality (165,000 workers) and trade (150,000).
  • Medium-size businesses employ 795,000 workers and their wages are almost evenly divided among low-, medium-, and high-wage sectors. Employees in high-wage industries—including professional and business services, which employs 126,000 workers—receive about 60 percent of all wages paid by medium-size firms.
  • Of the 1.3 million employees of the city’s large businesses, 264,000 work in the high-wage professional and business services and financial services industries. Two low-wage industries in the large establishment category—trade and leisure and hospitality—employ 200,000 workers. Roughly half of all workers in large firms are employed in education and health services, which are medium-wage industries.

Prepared by Debipriya Chatterjee
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

SOURCES: IBO calculations of Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data provided by New York State Department of Labor

New York City By The Numbers

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New York City Independent Budget Office