Main Banner

NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

DiNapoli Releases Economic Snapshot of Staten Island Highlighting Borough's Resilience and Progress

September 26, 2018

Staten Island is setting population, business and employment records, according to a report on the borough's economy released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

"Jobs and businesses have reached record levels on Staten Island, spurred by reconstruction, new development and a growing leisure and hospitality sector," DiNapoli said. "Staten Island's recovery from Superstorm Sandy demonstrates the borough's strength. Of course, growth brings challenges, and I hope this report provides helpful information to Staten Island's residents, elected officials, business community and non-profits as they continue their efforts to build Staten Island's future."

"As the smallest of the five boroughs it is crucial that Staten Island is equipped with the data necessary to advocate for needed resources to address the myriad challenges we face, particularly the ongoing heroin and opioid abuse epidemic that has claimed hundreds of lives and irreparably harmed thousands of families across our borough," said District Attorney Michael McMahon. "I truly appreciate Comptroller DiNapoli's work in compiling this report, and I look forward to utilizing its findings to further fight on behalf of the people of Staten Island."

"At Borough Hall we work to improve Staten Island's quality of life every day, aiming to preserve our suburban feel while bringing jobs and economic development to our borough," said Borough President James Oddo. "Staten Island's Jobs Coast is real, including major development sites such as the Matrix Global Logistics Park and Broadway Stages, which many Staten Islanders and local small businesses will benefit from. Thank you to Comptroller DiNapoli's office for conducting this report and bringing to light all of the significant growth taking place on Staten Island."

"Staten Island is home to some of the most hardworking people in New York City. I am encouraged by economic numbers showing increased employment and median household income over the last few years across various sectors - and the potential for further job creation on the horizon. But these numbers also speak to our residents’ tenacity after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy just a few years ago. And with one of the longest commute times in the nation, Staten Islanders still face challenges in their everyday lives," said& Congressman Dan Donovan. "I will continue to fight for them and work with other stakeholders to improve their economic livelihoods. Thank you to Comptroller DiNapoli and his office for hosting this wonderful event in Staten Island and I look forward to future efforts to benefit the borough’s residents and the rest of New York City."

"Comptroller DiNapoli's report confirms what we've known for some time: Staten Island continues to make economic strides by building resiliency and creating an attractive environment for new businesses to grow," said Assembly Member Michael Cusick. "Over the past several years, the combination of a vibrant cultural tapestry, green spaces, and an expanding job market has enhanced the quality of life we find on Staten Island. While this report has a lot of good news, it serves as a reminder of the work left to be done to ensure economic growth reaches all neighborhoods by increasing affordability and shoring up the borough's ability to withstand future extreme weather events."

"I could not be more proud of the economic progress Staten Island has made, especially in the wake of Super Storm Sandy," said Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis. "We have become home to a record number of new businesses, created thousands of jobs and cut our unemployment rate down by half. The resiliency that Staten Island has shown even in the face of devastation speaks volumes about our community and the people in it."

"This economic snapshot of Staten Island, in many ways, validates the work that many of us have been doing to help improve our borough's economy, and it underscores what we are experiencing: Clearly, our borough is thriving and with tremendous growth expected on our West Shore 'Jobs Coast,' the future looks even brighter," said City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo. "But we must continue to do more to support our local, small businesses — which comprise more than three quarters of employers in our borough; to shore up the health care sector; and to encourage new ideas and innovation. I thank Comptroller DiNapoli for providing us with this useful tool."

"The beauty of this report is that it is specific to Staten Island and includes information not easily accessible," said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. "While the report shows growth and addresses challenges, it's amazing to see the level of investment on Staten Island and the way it is impacting our local economy."

"This well prepared and comprehensive report authored by Comptroller DiNapoli proves what Staten Islanders have known for years, that we are a growing bedroom community that's open for business," said Vincent M. Ignizio, former Assembly Member, Council Member and current CEO for Catholic Charities of Staten Island. "The fact that we are such a desirable place to live and work proves to all New Yorkers that our county is one that both government and the private sector ought to invest in. It also underscores the need for enhanced assistance with some of the problems that plague our community — such as the opioid crisis and our transportation woes. When one invests in Staten Island, the study clearly shows, the return on that investment is significant and enhances the overall quality of life for those who live, visit, and work here every day."

Since 2012, the borough has added 11,000 private sector jobs, reaching a record of 97,000 in 2017. Three-quarters of the gains were concentrated in four sectors: construction, social assistance, leisure and hospitality, and health care. The construction sector alone was responsible for one-third of the gains.

The unemployment rate declined by half from 9.4 percent in 2010 to 4.6 percent in 2017, close to the citywide rate and the record-low reached in 2006 (both 4.5 percent).

Median household income was $79,200 in 2017, up 12 percent since 2010 and almost one-third higher than the citywide median. The borough had the second-lowest poverty rate in the city after Queens.

The borough had a record 9,500 businesses in 2017, 9 percent more than in 2012. More than two-thirds had fewer than five employees and 81 percent had fewer than 10 employees. Taxable business sales grew by 16 percent since 2012 (similar to the citywide growth), reaching a record of $1.9 billion in 2016. The North Shore had the fastest growth, increasing by 22 percent.

Staten Island is the least populous and most suburban of New York City's five boroughs, with one-third of its acreage dedicated to parks and recreation. It also has the highest rate of home ownership (70 percent) of all the boroughs, which is higher than the national average (64 percent). Nonetheless, housing affordability remains a challenge, particularly for renters who have a lower median household income than homeowners.

Health care is the largest employer with 22,700 jobs, nearly one-quarter of private sector employment in 2017. Major employers include the Richmond University Medical Center, the Staten Island University Hospital (which has two campuses) and the South Beach Psychiatric Center. Since 2012, the sector has added 1,500 jobs, an increase of 7 percent.

The mayor recently announced the opening of a new community health center, the first municipal full-service ambulatory center in the borough. The New York City Economic Development Corporation has proposed transforming the old Seaview hospital campus into a "healthy community" of mixed-use, medical, housing, retail and community facilities.

Broadway Stages - a film and television production company - began filming at the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility a few years ago and opened the first of five soundstages in early 2018. According to Empire State Development, the company is expected to create more than 1,300 permanent jobs.

Amazon and Ikea plan to open large warehouse facilities at the 200-acre Matrix Global Logistics Park on the West Shore in 2018. Amazon alone is expected to employ more than 2,000 workers, and the site is expected to employ more than 4,000 when fully leased. Superstorm Sandy struck New York City on Oct.29, 2012, causing loss of life and widespread damage to homes and businesses. In the six years since the storm, the borough has adopted innovative solutions, such as the Staten Island Bluebelt, which help residents and businesses better withstand the impact of future storms, and more plans are in the works.

DiNapoli's report also found that:

  • The population doubled between 1960 and 2000. Since then, it has grown at the citywide rate (8 percent) to reach a record of 479,500 in 2017.
  • Immigrants represented nearly one-quarter of the population, with one-third coming from Europe. The foreign-born population grew by 57 percent between 2000 and 2017.
  • The construction sector grew by 66 percent between 2011 and 2017 (partly driven by rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy), adding twice as many jobs as were lost during the recession to reach a record of 9,700 jobs.
  • The social assistance sector grew by 30 percent between 2012 and 2017, adding 1,800 jobs.
  • The leisure and hospitality sector grew by 19 percent between 2012 and 2017, adding 1,600 jobs reflecting the growth in tourism.
  • Staten Island had the highest median age (40.4) of the five boroughs. The number of residents aged 55 and over has grown by 50 percent since 2000, much faster than in any other borough.
  • On average, residents spent 46 minutes commuting to work in 2017, much higher than the national average of 27 minutes and slightly higher than the citywide average. Two-thirds drove or carpooled to work, nearly three times the share in the rest of the city. Half of Staten Islanders work on the Island, while one-quarter commute to Manhattan.
  • In 2016, the borough was home to 39 percent of the city's firefighters, one-fifth of its police officers, and one-tenth of its elementary and middle-school teachers, although it accounts for only 5 percent of the city's resident work force.

Read the report, or go to:

Find out how your government money is spent at Open Book New York. Track municipal spending, the state's 150,000 contracts, billions in state payments and public authority data. Visit the Reading Room for contract FOIL requests, bid protest decisions and commonly requested data, including Legislative travel and per diem expenses.