December 18, 2013
Report shows the City’s immigrants have reached new peak at more than 3 million residents
Immigrant influx has been essential to maintaining the City’s record population growth
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Planning Executive Director Richard Barth and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama today released the Newest New Yorkers report demonstrating that New York’s immigrants have played an integral role in maintaining the City’s record population growth and significantly boosting the City’s economic vitality. The City’s immigrant population has reached a new peak at more than 3 million; a number which would form the third largest city in the United States, bested only by New York City and Los Angeles. The strength of immigrants is most evident in Queens, where the largest percentage of the newest New Yorkers has settled; nearly one-half of the borough’s residents are foreign-born. The largest numeric growth in immigration took place in the Bronx, while Staten Island saw the largest percentage increase. The report is the product of expert demographic analysis of data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, as well as other federal and city administrative data. Complementing its new report, City Planning also launched an easy-to-use, interactive online map showing the largest immigrant groups in each of the City’s neighborhoods as well as where the City’s top ten largest immigrant populations live. The Mayor released the report during a keynote address at a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services swearing-in ceremony for 100 newly naturalized Americans.
“Having an accurate picture of our foreign born residents, and how they’re doing with respect to their housing, education, employment and economic status enables us to target support that helps immigrants establish themselves and participate in the diverse opportunities our city offers,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our nation has the opportunity to finally enact real immigration reform in Congress, and this edition of the Newest New Yorkers is an important resource that helps to build a case for reform so that we can continue to be a magnet of opportunity and also continue to attract some of the brightest minds in the world.”
“The 2013 edition of The Newest New Yorkers paints a vivid portrait of the immigrants who strengthen our many neighborhoods with their presence,” said City Planning Executive Director Richard Barth. “Our capacity to welcome newcomers has been historically central to New York City’s economic success, and our task is to continue to enhance opportunities that make New York a place where immigrants want to be and ensure a continuation of the dynamic ebb and flow of people that makes our city great.”
“The 2013 edition of The Newest New Yorkers demonstrates that immigrants are a valuable and recognizable part of New York City’s past and present, and continues to be a rich part of our future” said Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Shama. “Our neighborhoods, economy, and cultural fabric all thrive when we better support and engage NYC’s Newest New Yorkers and having this data allows us to focus our efforts in key neighborhoods reaching the breadth and beauty of our city’s immigrant communities because we know their success is our city's success.”
The City’s Newest New Yorkers
New York arguably boasts the most diverse population of any major city in the world. Since the passage of the landmark Immigration and Nationality Amendments of 1965, New York’s foreign-born population has more than doubled and the foreign-born share of the City’s population, which was 18 percent in 1970, has risen to 37 percent. This new report shows that the largest immigrant group in the City continues to hail from the Dominican Republic, with 380,200 residents throughout the five boroughs. China follows with 350,200 residents. While the ranking of the City’s two largest immigrant populations has held since 1990, a change may be on the horizon, because Dominican population growth in the last decade was 3 percent, compared with 34 percent for China. If these growth rates continue, the Chinese would likely be the city’s largest immigrant group in the next few years.
Immigrants from Mexico (186,300 residents) moved into 3rd place, with a 52 percent increase over the last decade, and were followed by Jamaicans (169,200) and Guyanese (139,900) – Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, India, and Russia round out the top ten groups. Thus, the foreign-born in 2011 had diverse origins.
The surge in the foreign-born population has been accompanied by a decline in the European share of this population, from 64 percent in 1970 to just 16 percent in 2011. Latin America is now the largest area of origin, comprising nearly one-third of the City’s foreign-born population, followed by Asia (28 percent), and the non-Hispanic Caribbean (19 percent). Africa accounts for 4 percent. This large flow of immigrants from Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean has reshaped the racial and ethnic composition of New York from a largely European white city to a diverse mix where no one group is in the majority.
Immigrant Settlement Patterns
While immigrants are dispersed throughout the city, the 2011 data show 1.1 million foreign born reside in Queens, and another 946,500 in Brooklyn, together accounting for two-thirds of the city’s immigrants. Many of Brooklyn’s immigrants settled along a “horseshoe” formed by the B, Q and N train lines, while a sizable portion of immigrants in Queens continued to settle along the much celebrated Number 7 train line. The Bronx and Manhattan were home to 471,100 (15 percent) and 461,300 (15 percent) immigrants, respectively, while 98,400 (3 percent) lived in Staten Island.
Of the City’s neighborhoods, Washington Heights in Manhattan has the largest immigrant population (80,200), followed by Bensonhurst (77,700) in Brooklyn, and Elmhurst (77,100) in Queens. The neighborhood with the highest growth was Bushwick, which saw its immigrant population increase by over one-fifth between 2000 and 2007-2011. Areas in southwest Brooklyn, eastern Brooklyn, and eastern Queens also experienced substantial gains, reflected in neighborhoods such as East New York and Sunset Park, both in Brooklyn, and South Ozone Park in Queens. East and Central Harlem in Manhattan and Concourse-Concourse Village in the South Bronx also experienced high growth among the foreign-born population.
Immigration’s Effects on the City
The Newest New Yorkers report illustrates that immigrants have been integral in maintaining the City’s record population numbers – more people are moving into New York than out for the first time in more than 60 years. Immigrant flows helped stabilize the City’s population throughout the 1970s and 1980s, were crucial in pushing New York’s growth over the 8 million mark in 2000, and have now propelled the City to its new population peak of 8.34 million in 2012.
The most recent data suggest that we are potentially in the midst of yet another phase in the city’s demographic history in which domestic migration plays a heightened role. The inflow of domestic migrants has increased and the outflow from the city has declined, greatly reducing the net outflow of persons to the rest of the nation. Moreover, two-thirds of all migrants coming to New York City now originate from other parts of the nation, compared to one-half in 2000. This change in domestic migration is coupled with more modest gains through international migration. This relative balance of domestic losses and international gains, while present in just the last few years, may represent a reversal of a longstanding pattern of net losses through migration.
The report also details the central role that immigrants play in strengthening the City’s economy. Immigrants comprise 47 percent of all employed residents across all major industries, including large concentrations in construction and services. Immigrants also are disproportionately represented among those who start new businesses, providing a continuous infusion of economic vitality that serves the neighborhoods of New York. The immigrant population also drives the demand for housing as close to one-half of all housing units that were occupied for the first time after 2000 had an immigrant householder. As the City stays economically attractive, it will continue to sustain its immigrant flow, which in turn acts to sustain its economy.
A New Way to Engage With the Newest New Yorkers
For the first time, City Planning also created an interactive map depicting the settlement patterns for City’s immigrant neighborhoods and where each of the City’s top 10 immigrant groups are living, allowing interested individuals to target their research on the City’s diversity via computer queries.
Marc La Vorgna / Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
Rachaele Raynoff (City Planning) (212) 720-3471