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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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New York City Census & Demographics Thread


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A raft of census data will be coming out soon as the results of last April's 2010 Census are finally released. New York City stands to have gained in population but a lot of other data will reveal many interesting contours in the complexion of America's premier city.



NY Times

Region Is Reshaped as Minorities Go to Suburbs
By SAM ROBERTS
Published: December 14, 2010

Metropolitan New York is being rapidly reshaped as blacks, Latinos, Asians and immigrants surge into the suburbs, while gentrification by whites is widening the income gap in neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, according to new census figures released on Tuesday.

Some of the largest population gains since 2000 were recorded in places that not long ago might have been considered marginal, including Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg in Brooklyn; Castle Hill and Hunts Point in the Bronx; South Jamaica in Queens; and Newark, Jersey City and Hoboken in New Jersey. Parts of those neighborhoods and cities, as well as the financial district in Lower Manhattan, registered large gains.

The number of Hispanic residents declined in tracts in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and in Washington Heights, but increased in the north Bronx; Woodside and Ozone Park, Queens; and central Harlem. The black population shrunk by double digits in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene, in central Harlem and in South Ozone Park, but jumped in Canarsie and Flatlands, Brooklyn, and in Springfield Gardens, Queens.

The non-Hispanic white population swelled on the Lower East Side and in Harlem, Washington Heights, Clinton Hill and Bushwick, but declined in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and in Rego Park, Queens. Asians increased in Forest Hills and Flushing, Queens, and in Bensonhurst.

Diverse racial, ethnic and immigrant enclaves have proliferated in New York City and especially its suburbs since 2000, but that increase generated only negligible inroads against historic patterns of racial segregation, according to analyses of the new data. Most whites in the metropolitan area and most blacks in the city still live where a majority of their neighbors are of the same race.

The latest figures are the single largest data release in the Census Bureau’s history, providing a look for the first time since 2000 at a variety of characteristics, including income, race, immigration and commuting habits for people in areas as small as just a few square blocks. Based on samples taken from 2005 to 2009, the five-year American Community Survey is separate from the 2009 survey, which probably better reflects the full impact of the recession, and from the 2010 Census, which is supposed to count people at every address.

Since 2000, decades of white flight eased and the proportion of non-Hispanic white New Yorkers increased slightly, to 35.5 percent. So did New York City’s proportion of Hispanic residents, to just over 27 percent. The proportion of blacks declined by a percentage point, to 23.3 percent, and the share of Asian residents rose by almost two percentage points, to nearly 12 percent.

For the first time since the 1970s, fully half of Manhattan’s population is non-Hispanic white. The borough is 24 percent Hispanic, 14 percent black and 11 percent Asian.

The number of non-Hispanic whites has increased in three other counties in the area since 2000: Brooklyn, and Middlesex and Ocean in New Jersey.

New York City’s foreign-born population remained fairly constant since 2000, about 36 percent. Three of the nine counties in the country where people born abroad made up one-third or more of the population are in New York or the surrounding area: Queens (47 percent, second to Miami-Dade, with 49 percent), Brooklyn (37 percent) and Hudson (40 percent) in New Jersey.

Hispanics are now the majority population in the Bronx, though Puerto Ricans, who were once dominant, have lost numbers, while the populations of Dominicans and Mexicans have risen.

Gentrification decreased the number of non-English speakers in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, while Chinese and Hispanic immigrants swelled the proportion of people who do not speak English at home in the southern portion of Staten Island.

Since 2000, the Dominican Republic, China and Mexico have sent the most people to New York. There have also been large influxes from Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as from Ghana and elsewhere in the sub-Saharan region of Africa.

But many of the biggest gains in diversity were in the suburbs, generated by newly arrived Hispanic and Asian immigrants, and their American-born children. Their population increased in every county, typically clustered in ethnically or racially monolithic communities. Big percentage gains were recorded in places as far-flung as Ramapo and Huntington in New York; New Haven and Meriden, Conn.; and Jackson Township and Camden, N.J.

Spurred by a surge in people from Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, foreign-born residents exceeded 60 percent of the population in Palisades Park and West New York, N.J.; 50 percent in Fairview, Guttenberg, Harrison and Union City, N.J.; 40 percent in Bergenfield, Cliffside Park, Elizabeth, Fort Lee, North Bergen, Passaic, Ridgefield and Teterboro, N.J.; and Bellerose Terrace, Elmont, Hillcrest, New Cassel, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, South Floral Park and Spring Valley in the Westchester, Rockland and Long Island suburbs. An influx of Jamaicans helped push the foreign-born population in Blue Hills, Conn., near Hartford, to more than 40 percent.

In the entire nation, residents of only four counties took 40 minutes or more to get to work: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, where, at 42.5 minutes, mean travel time was highest. (The lowest was 3.4 minutes in agricultural King County, Tex.) Manhattan, with 58 percent, was one of 17 counties in the country in which more than half of the residents over 25 had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Despite progress in the last decades of the 20th century, among the 100 largest metropolitan areas, New York stands third, behind Milwaukee and Detroit, on an index of black segregation compiled by William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer.

Dr. Frey and Profs. John Iceland of Pennsylvania State University and John R. Logan of Brown University found persistent patterns of residential segregation in metropolitan areas around the nation that were repeated in New York.

In 2000, on average, a black suburbanite lived in a neighborhood that was 47 percent black. In 2005-9, that neighborhood would have been 44 percent black, the analysts found.

In 1970, whites in the metropolitan area were likely to live in a neighborhood that was 92 percent white, a figure that declined to 76 percent in 2000, and to 73 percent in 2005-9.

“New York is among a group of metropolitan regions,” Professor Logan said, “where the Great Migration created large black ghettos, and where very high levels of segregation have proved very resistant to change.”
 

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Interesting map. Staten Island is a bit surprising.
 

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Data is now being released. First up, New Jersey:

US Census Bureau http://2010.census.gov/news/releases/operations/cb11-cn15.html

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, FEB. 3, 2011

U.S. Census Bureau Delivers New Jersey's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting

The U.S. Census Bureau today released more detailed 2010 Census population totals and demographic characteristics to state leaders in New Jersey. These data provide the first look at population counts for small areas and race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing unit data released from the 2010 Census.

The official 2010 Census Redistricting Data Summary File can be used to redraw federal, state and local legislative districts under Public Law 94-171. The census data are used by state officials to realign congressional and state legislative districts in their states, taking into account population shifts since the 2000 Census.

Data for New Jersey show that the five most populous cities and townships and their 2010 Census counts are Newark, 277,140; Jersey City, 247,597; Paterson, 146,199; Elizabeth, 124,969 and Edison, 99,967. Newark grew by 1.3 percent since the 2000 Census. Jersey City grew by 3.1 percent, Paterson decreased by 2.0 percent, Elizabeth grew by 3.7 percent and Edison grew by 2.3 percent.

The largest county is Bergen, with a population of 905,116. Its population grew by 2.4 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include Middlesex, with a population of 809,858 (increase of 8.0 percent); Essex, population of 783,969 (decrease of 1.2 percent); Hudson, population of 634,266 (increase of 4.2 percent); and Monmouth, population of 630,380 (increase of 2.5 percent).


The redistricting file consists of five detailed tables: the first shows the population by race, including six single race groups and 57 multiple race groups (63 total race categories); the second shows the Hispanic or Latino population as well as the non-Hispanic or Latino population cross-tabulated by the 63 race categories. These tabulations are repeated in the third and fourth tables for the population 18 years and over and are for the resident population of the United States. The fifth table provides counts of housing units and their occupancy status.

These five detailed tables are available to the public online via FTP download at <http://www2.census.gov/census_2010/01-Redistricting_File--PL_94-171/> and will be available within 24 hours at <http://factfinder2.census.gov>. (Special instructions for linking data downloaded from FactFinder with the Census Bureau's geographic products can be found at <http://www.census.gov/rdo/tech_tips>.)
 

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NY Times

New Jersey’s Ethnic Makeup Shifts, and Population Drifts Southward

By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
Published: February 3, 2011

In the last decade, the number of white people in New Jersey declined as the number of Asians and Hispanics soared, and the population shifted southward — some of the many shifts with broad cultural and political implications that were revealed in 2010 census figures released on Thursday.

Newark, the state’s largest city, grew 1.3 percent, to more than 277,000 people, reversing five decades of contraction, and the second-largest, Jersey City, grew 3.1 percent, to more than 247,000. But populations declined in several of the largest and most heavily minority cities and towns, including Paterson, Trenton, Camden, Union City, East Orange, and Irvington.

In particular, the state’s most crowded areas saw something of a black exodus from 2000 to 2010; the total population dropped 11.2 percent in Irvington and 8 percent in East Orange, both places that are predominantly black. At the same time, the cities became much more heavily Hispanic.

Over all, the population of New Jersey grew 4.5 percent, to nearly 8.8 million people, but that was far behind the 9.7 percent national growth rate.

Growth was slowest in the state’s densely packed northeast, where most of the population resides. Essex County, which includes East Orange, Irvington and Newark, shrank 1.2 percent, to about 784,000 people, well below its peak of more than 932,000 in 1970. The state’s most populous county as recently as the 1980s, Essex slipped to third in 2010, behind Middlesex, which grew to almost 810,000 people. Bergen County, the most populous, grew 2.4 percent, to 905,000, and Passaic and Union Counties also grew by less than 3 percent.

The southern half of the state boomed by comparison — the populations of Gloucester and Ocean Counties each grew by 13 percent. Lakewood Township in Ocean County, with an expanding Orthodox Jewish population, had the fastest growth of any large municipality, soaring almost 54 percent in the decade, to nearly 93,000 people.

“In some of the more developed areas, you have towns that are pretty much built out, and a lot of empty-nesters,” said James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Factors drawing people to South Jersey, he said, were more-affordable housing and construction of highways providing access to job centers.

The number of non-Hispanic white people living in the state fell by more than 300,000, to about 5.2 million, dropping from 66 percent of the population to 59.3 percent. The shift was even more pronounced among whites under 18, who by 2010 were just 51.6 percent of the state’s children.

“Those are pretty astounding changes,” said Tim Evans, research director at New Jersey Future, a research group. “It’s another sign that New Jersey is on a similar path to California, in terms of becoming majority-minority.”

The Asian population jumped 51 percent, to more than 700,000, or 8.2 percent of the total, while the number of Hispanics climbed 39 percent, to more than 1.5 million, or 17.7 percent. The black population changed little, at 1.1 million, or 12.8 percent.

The ethnic shifts could presage altered economic and political patterns, though financial and voting power can lag decades behind a rise in raw numbers.

In the United States House of Representatives, New Jersey has seven Democrats, representing mostly terrain in the northeast corner of the state, and six Republicans. But the state will lose one seat based on the census.

The census shows heavily Democratic and minority areas losing sway as the state embarks on the once-a-decade task of redrawing district lines for the Legislature and Congress, based on the numbers released on Thursday. Even before the figures were published, Republicans had high hopes of making gains in that process.

But the census also shows traditionally Republican and swing areas becoming more ethnically diverse, with fast-rising numbers of Hispanics, Asians and blacks. In Sussex and Warren Counties, in the northwest corner of the state, the minority population, while still small, nearly doubled.

“A lot of what we’re seeing is the continuing suburbanization of New Jersey, including significant minority suburbanization,” Mr. Hughes said.

One indicator of that suburbanization is that towns that had 20,000 to 50,000 people in 2000 had the fastest growth rate, 6.4 percent. Those with over 75,000 grew just 1.5 percent.

Asian population growth was heaviest in suburban Middlesex County, particularly in Edison, Piscataway, Woodbridge and East Brunswick. The number of Asians in the county jumped more than 50 percent, and by 2010 accounted for 21.3 percent of the population. In Edison, Asians reached 43.1 percent of the population, surpassing whites as the largest group.

In places that were already majority Hispanic in 2000, like Perth Amboy, Passaic, North Bergen and Paterson, their predominance increased markedly. Hispanics became a majority in Elizabeth and nearly did in New Brunswick; they overtook blacks as the largest group in Camden; and they passed whites as the largest group in Hackensack. [...]
 

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NY Post

Downtown Brooklyn's population boom reaching sky-high levels


By RICH CALDER
Last Updated: 6:33 PM, March 3, 2011
Posted: 6:23 PM, March 3, 2011

Downtown Brooklyn’s population is soaring as high as its glimmering new apartment buildings — but the flood of new residents are already reeling from the area’s lack of shopping and public services.

New data released today shows 12,000 residents living in the heart of the Big Apple’s fastest growing neighborhood – a 50 percent increase from just a year ago and a whopping 30 times more than 2000. “There’s no doubt that Downtown Brooklyn is coming into its own as a 24/7 live-work — and shop – city center,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz.

But newcomers are already griping about a dearth of local schools, grocery stores, retail shops, timely sanitation pickup and street lighting. “These people were promised the Manhattanization of Brooklyn by their brokers and all they got was being able to live in tall buildings,” said City Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn), who represents most of the area.

The public-private Downtown Brooklyn Partnership estimates another 2,500 people will move in by 2013, bringing the total to 14,500. It’s a far cry from the 400 residents who lived there 11 years ago when the area’s 16-square-block core -- including Fulton Mall, MetroTech complex and the Jay and Willoughby street corridors -- was a struggling business district filled with 99-cent stores.

A surge of new luxury buildings boast amenities ranging from swimming pools to rooftop decks — but come at a steep price. The average one-bedroom pad runs about $2,500-$2,800 a month while two-bedroom condos are now selling for an average of about $550,000 to $600,000. Bram Daly, 35, who rents a one-bedroom apartment at the 80 Dekalb residential tower, said he loves his new neighborhood. “I have a killer view,” he said. “I don’t feel like I am missing Manhattan.”

About 60 percent of the neighborhood’s new residents live in luxury rentals as the condo market has struggled due to the national credit crunch. Officials estimate about two million more people will be visiting the area per year by 2012, following the planned opening of the Nets' new NBA arena a half-mile away and the nearby expansion at the BAM Cultural District.

Transit and other infrastructure upgrades are in the works to compensate both projects. Since 2006, there’s been $3.4 billion in private investment in the entire Downtown area, a 60-square-block section bounded by Tillary Street to the north, Cadman Plaza and Court Street to the west, Ashland Place to east and Atlantic Avenue to the south. This has resulted in 5,200 residential units, 1,000 hotel rooms and 726,000 square feet of retail and office space.

However, while Downtown’s housing market strived – with the exception of 6,400 units planned at the stalled Atlantic Yards project – the national credit crunch significantly dipped into the city’s once lofty expectations for new commercial space and hotels there. In 2007, officials estimated Downtown Brooklyn by 2012 would have 3.2 million square feet of new retail and office space and 1,800 new hotel units.

About 20 new stores have opened, bringing 500 jobs, including Aeropostle and Barney’s Co-op. And some new tenants are slated to move in later this year, including Shake Shack, Danny Meyer’s popular burger joint. “There’s been amazing growth despite some tough economic challenges,” said Joe Chan, the Partnership’s president.

Additional reporting by Hannah Rappleye.



Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/...ion_boom_zF6sAf7Vvkgn4E8b7PqNwJ#ixzz1FalZT4KR
 

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NY Times

Survey Hints at a Census Undercount in New York City

By SAM ROBERTS
Published: May 24, 2011

“We demand a recount,” declared Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman, a Democrat from Queens.

The Brooklyn borough president, Marty Markowitz, pronounced himself “flabbergasted.”

“The numbers are dead wrong,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, “and it makes you wonder if the Census Bureau is living on a different planet.”

After learning that the population of Queens had increased by a mere 1,300 people in 10 years, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proclaimed: “As they say in Brooklyn: Fuhgeddaboudit!”

This crescendo of scorn was touched off by the Census Bureau’s decennial verdict that though New York City’s population reached a record high of 8,175,133 in 2010, the gain of 2 percent, or 166,855 people, since 2000 fell about 200,000 short of what the bureau itself had estimated.

Public officials were incredulous that a city that lures tens of thousands of immigrants each year and where a forest of new buildings has sprouted could really have recorded such a puny increase.

How, they wondered, could Queens have grown by only one-tenth of 1 percent since 2000? How, even with a surge in foreclosures, could the number of vacant apartments have soared by nearly 60 percent in Queens and by 66 percent in Brooklyn?

Now, an informal house-to-house New York Times survey of three representative square blocks where the Census Bureau said vacancies had increased and the population had declined since 2000 suggests that the city’s outrage is somewhat justified. In those blocks alone, census takers appear to have missed dozens of New Yorkers and to have overestimated the number of vacant apartments.

In Brooklyn, on a block near Ocean Parkway between Midwood and Gravesend, where the census said nearly half of the 148 homes were vacant, a resident said the only vacancies were in a new 33-unit apartment building that is partly occupied.

“There are not a lot of empty buildings,” said another resident, Ralph Shamah. “They’re too expensive to be empty.”

On one block in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, the number of vacancies recorded by the Census Bureau far exceeds the number of unsold condominiums in a new apartment building. Superintendents of other nearby buildings say those had few vacant apartments when the census was conducted.

And on a block of two- and three-story homes in East Elmhurst, Queens, where the census recorded 26 fewer occupied apartments and 20 more vacant ones (defined as habitable but with no one living there) than a decade earlier, in 2000, a real estate agent said a one-family house had been illegally divided and had 14 residents — evidence of demand for housing.

“The garbagemen have to work double because there’s so much additional garbage,” said the agent, Robert Butts.

The magnitude of any undercount is uncertain. The Times survey did not replicate the methods the Census Bureau uses, including mailing questionnaires and making up to five visits to addresses that have not returned the forms. As a last resort, a census worker will consult with a landlord or neighbors and make a best guess about whether a home is occupied.

Often, though, owners of illegally divided houses are reluctant to disclose the number of tenants, who tend to include people who are in the country illegally and are leery of providing any information to the government. A visit from Times reporters may have proved less intimidating to landlords and residents.

City officials say as many as 80,000 residents appear to have been systematically overlooked in crowded immigrant neighborhoods like East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights in Queens and Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn.

Classrooms in those neighborhoods are overcrowded and “for rent” signs are rare. Some demographers say the number of vacancies was not all that anomalous, given some overbuilding before the recession and a surge in foreclosures. But of 500 houses or apartments on the three blocks surveyed by The Times, only four were in foreclosure or had been seized by the mortgage holder, according to an analysis conducted at The Times’s request by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University.

Relying on earlier census surveys and evidence from the Postal Service and other sources, the city plans to formally ask the Census Bureau next month to review its findings. Census officials have acknowledged that a processing glitch is one possibility for any pattern of population declines and increased vacancies in specific neighborhoods.

At stake is more than just the city’s wounded pride: federal aid is based on population. "Why would so many units be there and be illegally subdivided if there was no demand for housing?” said Joseph J. Salvo, director of the population division of the city’s Planning Department, adding that the city had done “extensive field research, work that is corroborated by local data sources on foreclosures, new construction and rents.”

In East Elmhurst, in the square block The Times canvassed, bordered by 99th and 100th Streets and 25th and 27th Avenues, the census concluded that the population had shrunk by 14 percent, from 516 to 446.

One census taker who not only lives in East Elmhurst, but was also assigned to make follow-up visits to neighborhood addresses to determine if they were occupied, acknowledged the challenges of trying to find people who do not necessarily want to be found.

“The ones that were illegal, people were uncomfortable giving information,” said the census taker, Michael Williams. “Even though I’d inform them that the information was confidential, they were afraid.”

“We did the best we could,” he added.

Jeff Silverbush, a real estate agent in East Elmhurst, said: “There are certain areas in Queens where half of the houses seem to be for sale. That’s not the case there. You don’t find a huge amount of empty houses around there.”

One woman who answered the door at a single-family home on 99th Street said she never returned her census questionnaire. “I don’t understand much English,” said the 30-year-old woman, who did not want to give her name. In Brooklyn, off Ocean Parkway, a block of mostly one- and two-family homes bounded by East Second and Third Streets and Avenues O and P recorded an increase of 65 vacancies, to 70 from 5, and a decline in population of 57, to 283 from 340.

One reason for the increase in vacancies was the construction of the Venetian, a 33-apartment building on Avenue P that replaced a row of one- and two-family homes. Occupancy started early last year, and the ornate building is still about one-third vacant. But that would account for fewer than half of the vacancies recorded by the Census Bureau on the block, which is home mostly to immigrants from Russia and Syria.

“You want to see a vacant building?” said Jacob Cohen, 25, who has lived with his wife on East Third Street for two years. “That’s a vacant building,” he said, pointing toward the Venetian. “That’s the only one.”

Nearby, in Sheepshead Bay, the block bounded by Coyle and Bragg Streets and Shore Parkway and Emmons Avenue registered an increase in vacancies to 52 from 2 and a loss of 153 residents, from 547 to 394.

Among the mostly two- and three-story homes are two seven-story apartment houses that contain about 150 apartments, only a few of which were vacant in April 2010. At 3165 Emmons Avenue, a new 43-apartment condominium named Bay Breeze is now nearly half-full.

Theresa Scavo, the chairwoman of Community Board 15, doubted that the block had lost more than 150 people since 2000 and suggested instead that many of the Russian immigrants who moved to the neighborhood in recent years had not filled out forms or answered the door when census takers visited.

“How do you get a decrease in population,” she said, “when 10 years ago the buildings were not as crowded?”
 

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The gripes in the last article about an under count are laughable.

When an area gentrifies its population goes down. When the ethnic and lower income people live there it will often be 5 or 6 people to an apartment. When middle and upper class whites move in it will generally be 1 or 2 people to an apartment. There is a reason that Manhattan has the smallest household size in the country.

Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Washington Heights, parts of Harlem, have all had gentrification. Hence the lowering of population in spite of some new buildings
 

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The gripes in the last article about an under count are laughable.

When an area gentrifies its population goes down. When the ethnic and lower income people live there it will often be 5 or 6 people to an apartment. When middle and upper class whites move in it will generally be 1 or 2 people to an apartment. There is a reason that Manhattan has the smallest household size in the country.

Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Washington Heights, parts of Harlem, have all had gentrification. Hence the lowering of population in spite of some new buildings
Not necessarily. While it is true that gentrification does lower household size, you're neglecting that development has increased and that part of the gentrification process is the conversion of formerly abandoned or non-residential properties to units fit for habitation. It's not laughable to think that a .1% increase in Queens is a bit ridiculous. 2.1% growth cannot be distributed so unevenly, and that percentage should probably be much higher.
 

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There isn't that much new development. Sure Williamsburg and LIC both have big new apartment buildings but they aren't that large relative to the size of those neighborhoods and almost certainly can't balance out all the ethnic households that moved out. Take for example Williamsburg - before it was almost exclusively hispanic and hasidic jews both of which had large households - the jews often having VERY large households. If you are having, on average, groups that have 5/6 people in an apartment replaced by people who are averaging 2 people in an apartment you aren't going to make that up with a few new apartment buildings.

Further the areas that had very little in the way of residents previously and got new apartment buildings, aka, Downtown Brooklyn, did show significant increases, as would be expected.

Therefore, the census results make sense.

What is laughable isn't so much the concept here - population changes can be counterintuitive some times, but that the census got the numbers wrong. The census workers are very diligent here. Although I was obstinate about not responding to the census they came to my apartment about 6 times.

It simply isn't rational to say the census numbers are wrong when a) so much effort and care went into them and b) there are rational explanations as to why the numbers didn't go up as much as some think they should have. Rather, this is simply the gaming of the system the same as we see from NY politicians every ten years trying to pressure the census into giving them more favorable numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bronx Cheer

Crain's

Three cheers for the blossoming Bronx

Borough overcomes old stigmas to post big gains in people, jobs and wages; prospects are bright.

July 24, 2011



If there was any doubt that the Bronx has put its infamous past behind it, consider this: Queens native Bill Long decided to call his new Maspeth, Queens-based company Bronx Toys.

“I'm not from the Bronx, but what's more New York than the Bronx?” he said. “It just rings of New York.”

The launch of Mr. Long's company, which makes NYPD- and FDNY-licensed toys, is just one sign of the Bronx's shifting fortunes. The borough that lost 21% of its population in the 1970s added 52,458 people last decade, topping each of the other four, census figures show. Much of the growth occurred in southern sections of the Bronx that once were devastated.

“There was a time when people were running away from this borough,” said Radame Perez, president of Mastermind Development. “But that's an old story.”

The story of today's Bronx has been overshadowed by fallout from the City Council's rejection in 2009 of a plan to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory. The mall project would have created 2,200 jobs, but its developer would not agree to “living wage” mandates.

The controversial rejection prompted criticism of how such a poor borough could turn down a chance to add jobs of any kind, but in the meantime, the Bronx has quietly made gains. Wages are growing faster than in any other borough, job growth is outpacing the city's as a whole, and the Bronx has become a mecca for immigrants, adding more foreign-born residents in the last decade than any other borough.

It would be a mistake to assume all is rosy, as deep pockets of poverty persist. Personal income climbed 54% between 2000 and 2009, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, but at $28,500, it was still 71% lower than the level for the city overall. And more than 40% of the jobs created in the borough in the past decade were in the low-paying fields of retail and home health care, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

But prospects are brighter than they have been for many years.

Fueled by its relative affordability, its proximity to Manhattan and its transportation links, the Bronx is “the last bastion of opportunity in the city,” said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. “The Bronx is the place that is ripe for development.”

Housing has played a vital role in the borough's turnaround, attracting people to a borough they once fled and setting the stage for a gradual economic revitalization.

The Koch administration kicked off the effort by pouring money into rehabbing run-down buildings and constructing multifamily houses. Between 1986 and 1997, the number of apartments in vacant buildings shrank 78%, to 4,832—largely as the result of city-financed gut rehabs, according to unpublished city data cited by Alex Schwartz, an associate professor at Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy.

That investment continued through subsequent administrations, culminating in the last decade in construction of the first new co-ops and condos in the Bronx in more than 30 years. Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city has created or preserved nearly 35,000 units of affordable housing in the borough. They don't stay empty for long.

“Some South Bronx census tracts showed among the highest population increases in the city,” said Ted Weinstein, director of Bronx planning at the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “You look at those tracts and in almost every case, there's been new housing built through our programs.”

Morrisania-Melrose, for example, gained 2,815 housing units and 8,068 people. Melrose South-Mott Haven North added 2,064 occupied units and 6,019 people. Les Bluestone, principal of Blue Sea Development, built roughly 500 of the new units in Melrose-Morrisania.

“When we started in Melrose in 2000, 2001, it looked like Dresden,” he said. “You could stand on one corner and easily see the other side of the neighborhood without a building in your way. Now you go up there, and it's just wall-to-wall buildings. The change is dramatic.”

Mr. Bluestone attributes the resurgence in part to price pressure from the south, extending into Harlem and driving people into the Bronx. The borough's affordability has helped it grow. The Bronx also benefited from reductions in crime and an influx of immigrants—including large numbers of West Africans, but also Dominicans priced out of Washington Heights.

Lynn Gore, 60, an administrative assistant who grew up in Manhattan, never thought she'd live in the Bronx. But when her home borough became too expensive, she moved into The Eltona—a 63-unit green building, with wind turbines on the roof, that Mr. Bluestone began renting in 2009.

“Affordability, that's what it was,” said Ms. Gore, who pays $782 a month for a one-bedroom in the Melrose building, which is the first affordable LEED Platinum building in the state. She said “the building is run beautifully and the block is clean,” but she'd love a more upscale mix of local retail and restaurants.

It might be just a matter of time. The borough's new housing has already opened the door to other development, including supermarkets and a 1 million-square-foot mall. And Bronx officials believe that the time is ripe for the first full-service hotel.

In the past year and a half, the city has solicited proposals for four development sites in the Bronx.

Multiple firms vied to develop the Hub at 149th Street. Officials chose Queens-based Triangle Equities, which will construct a $35 million, two-building project with commercial and retail space and a school. The company's director of development, Elysa Goldman, said the area's population density and the “significant amount of disposable income, regardless of the fact that it's a low-income area” made the project attractive. A supermarket and a sit-down restaurant are among the amenities planned.

Range of new businesses[/b

Separately, a new 35,000-square-foot Western Beef is set to open on Webster Avenue, as part of a city program to lure supermarkets to underserved areas. Atlantis Management Group is slated to begin construction of an alternative-fuel station in Hunts Point by 2013. And the city is offering $100 million to help revitalize the Hunts Point produce market.

“We are very active in luring private investment to the Bronx right now,” said a spokesman for the city's Economic Development Corp. “We're working to attract new industrial facilities as well as retaining existing businesses, and activating city-owned sites with dense job-creating uses, supermarkets and community facilities.”

Ms. Cintron, of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., notes that a major food company is looking at a 424,000-square-foot site in Hunts Point, an electric car company is mulling two possible locations in the borough and major hotel chains are eyeing the Yankee Stadium area.

“Computer chips are being generated right here in the Bronx,” she said, referring to a recent expansion by G.A.L. Manufacturing Corp., an 84-year-old elevator-component company with a 100,000-square-foot facility in the shadows of the ballpark.

Much work still needs to be done, said Wilhelm Ronda, director of planning and development in the office of the Bronx borough president, but people and businesses are now making the decision to call the borough home rather than leave it.

“The hemorrhage stopped—the hemorrhage of people and institutions and amenities,” he said. “The Bronx has stabilized, giving people assurances that, 'Wait a minute; we can live and do business here.' “

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Bloomberg back in '08 or '09 was trumpeting the fact there were 8.4 million residents in NYC based on a late decade estimate. These subsequent estimates are built onto the 2000 census base, so what happens that these numbers end up being so far off? It would be interesting to know why numbers get overcounted as well.
 

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Well, Bloomberg is suing over the 2010 counts, no? So I guess there's either outright refusal to believe those numbers or just denial about some of the trends. During the height of the boom, thousands of young people were doubled up in Brooklyn apartments, thousands of low skilled workers were crammed in illegally subdivided houses in Queens, etc. Those guys flew the coop after 2008 and we now learn that the city's black population has been steadily exiting. So maybe there's some rethinking needed by city officials here...
 

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There could be a various factors in play in NYC’s less than expected 2010 population count.

One is rather obvious: In densely populated cities like NYC, with very low vacancy rates, gentrification tends to push out larger households, replacing them with one or two residents. Then too NYC’s seen an exodus of African American to the South & Latinos to states like PA & Florida. So either of those factors could have minimized the growth in NYC.

However, one can’t overlook this: Carl Paladino, the extremist Buffalo developer who was running for NY Governor last year during the census count threatened to send welfare recipients (primarily African Americans, Latinos, etc.) to “retraining” camps & to deport undocumented immigrants.

Paladino’s intimidating threats, along with his racist e-mails, sent a very chilling message that could very well have depressed census participation not just in NYC but across NY State. If you fear being sent to detention or being deported, you’re probably not likely to participate in the census count or the months of door-to-door follow-up, when the census folks come knocking.

Whatever, if it isn’t already, the US Justice Department really needs to be reviewing whether Paladino’s 2010 campaign may have depressed census participation across NY State, or otherwise violated the Voting Rights Act &/or other Civil Rights statues.
 

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Why would somebody black be afraid of being deported. Nobodies thinking about Carl Paladino, he isn't governor of NY. It's like I said alot of black people didn't take the census.
 

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Why would somebody black be afraid of being deported. Nobodies thinking about Carl Paladino, he isn't governor of NY.
Ah, but thats of course because he lost.

But if this was 2010 when Paladino was campaigning, the outcome hung in the balance, & you were one of the demographic segments that he was threatening to deport or send to "re-training" camps in state prisons, you might think twice before being counted when the census enumeration was underway.
 

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I guess it's hard to get serious attention about undercounts, when you're up 100,000 residents for your city. Not to mention these lawsuits have gone nowhere in the past, even when the numbers have declined more than double that figure.

The gentrification angle certainly holds water -- plausible how it could have offset the boom in housing itself. Although, the economy after fall '08 in NYC hardly matched the financial crisis that it was epicenter of. So it's unlikely migrant labor fleeing was much of the reason.
 

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NY Times

August 2, 2011, 2:22 pm
Study Finds More New Yorkers Leaving State

By SAM ROBERTS

The tally of people New York has lost to other states since 2000 is the highest it has been in three decades, but unlike the situation in the 1970s, the surplus of births over deaths has kept the population from declining. Over all, it rose to 19.4 million from 18.9 million, according to the 2010 census.

An analysis of census data by the Empire Center for New York State Policy at the Manhattan Institute found that in the latest decade, New York gained 895,150 immigrants from abroad. The number people who left for other states outnumbered the number who arrived from other states by more than 1.5 million; it is the second consecutive decade in which domestic migration loss was the highest of any state as a percentage of population. All in all, the population declined by 675,00 as a result of migration since 2000.

Twenty other states, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, lost more residents than they gained to domestic migration. Combining domestic and foreign migration, New York — with the third highest rate of loss — was one of 13 states that suffered a net loss.

New York City attracted a larger number of foreign immigrants than anywhere else in the state (nearly 690,000), but also recorded the highest loss in domestic migration (1.1 million).

The Empire Center’s study was conducted by E. J. McMahon and Robert Scardamalia.

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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TRD

Mayor Bloomberg challenges Brooklyn, Queens census results
August 10, 2011 11:30AM


Mayor Michael Bloomberg Mayor Michael Bloomberg has submitted an official challenge to New York City's 2010 census results to the U.S. Census Bureau, according to a letter released by the mayor's office today. In the letter to Census Bureau director Robert Groves, Bloomberg states that the city believes housing units in Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst as well as in Astoria and Jackson Heights were erroneously counted as vacant. Rather, -Bloomberg writes, data shows those neighborhoods are growing and vibrant parts of the city.

the mayor has issued a formal challenge to the 2010 US Census for mistakenly classifying a large number of housing units as vacant. Citing miscounts for two local census office bureaus—Office 2227, which covers Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst, and Office 2235 in Astoria and Jackson Heights—the mayor's office is requesting a recount, as census data has a clear impact on how much federal aid the city receives
-curbed
The city expects the official population count to increase by tens of thousands if a correction takes place, according to the letter. The letter also states that other areas of the city were miscounted, although far less substantially. The census data impacts how much money the city receives through Federal aid programs. Bloomberg and many other city officials had raised objections to the data when its results were first released in March. The census had found that Brooklyn's population grew by just 1.6 percent, while Queens' population only grew by 0.1 percent. -- Miranda Neubauer

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