Census data shows strong growth in Queens — Queens Daily Eagle
By Rachel Vick and Jacob Kaye
After a historic effort to ensure a full count in the 2020 census, the results are in and Queens is on the rise.
The World’s Borough grew 7.8% over the past decade, according to early data released by the US Census Bureau. With 2,405,464 residents in Queens, the borough is the second most populous in the city.
Only Brooklyn has grown more over the past decade.
The data was released in an effort to help states in their bid to draw new constituency lines, a process that began in New York last month.
The Independent Redistricting Commission, the body tasked with drawing the lines, began a listening tour in July and heard comments from more than 100 Queens residents who mostly said the old lines were dividing communities and weakening the political power of Queens residents of color throughout the borough.
Ivan Garcia, national political director of Make the Road, said lines drawn after the 2010 census did not evenly distribute populations or represent communities – an error that “must be corrected in the next map”.
“This process should center the needs of the community, not the political parties,” Garcia said. “In an ideal world, one advantage is that any growth anywhere should see fair representation, that representation would reflect the increase.”
“We already saw in the last state senate map that Queens, and indeed all of New York City, had disproportionately low representation,” he added. “One of the challenges is what we’ve seen repeatedly from politics as usual.”
Queens residents will have another chance to provide feedback on the redistricting once the committee completes and submits a first draft to the state legislature.
The commission will release its first draft on September 15.
Queens, which has seen significant changes in its population, could potentially see that change reflected in its electoral maps.
The borough has a dozen assembly districts that have fewer people than the average district, which means lines will be redrawn to include more people, according to maps provided by the CUNY Graduate Center.
Queens’ Asian population has increased by 29% and is heavily represented in Northwest, Central and East Queens.
According to the data, the borough is 25.8% white, 16.8% black, 27.5% Asian, 10.1% from two or more races, 1.3% Indian d American or Alaskan and 0.1% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
About 27% of respondents to the 2020 census in Queens said they were Hispanic or Latino.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards celebrated the Borough’s growth in population and diversity.
“The big population jump in our borough underscores what we have known for a long time in Queens; that Queens is truly a fantastic place to live and raise a family,” Richards said in a statement. “My sincere gratitude goes to all of the 2.4 million people who call Queens their home, including the more than one million who have come from all over the world to build new lives in ‘The World’s Borough’. “
New York City as a whole has also seen a decade of growth and remains the most populous city in the country.
This growth has been reflected in all metropolitan areas in the United States, which have grown by 9% over the past decade. About 86% of all people in the country live in a metropolitan area.
However, New York’s growth has not been consistent across the state.
Steve Romalewski, director of the CUNY mapping service, said that even if the state would lose a seat in Congress, it would most likely be lost in an upstate region. The districts of New York and Long Island juggle the need to meet state averages within a small margin of error and balanced populations.
“Because of the huge population growth in New York, there will be less pressure in terms of drawing district lines,” Romalewski said. “Where the lines are redrawn and how it happens is the question.”
Romalewski said “the real issue is making sure the districts are drawn fairly and reflect the communities,” but with the added public outreach this year and changes to the redistricting requirements and process “it there is hope.”
The Independent Redistricting Commission, which is made up of four appointed Democratic and four Republican members, is expected to submit its final maps to the state legislature by January 2022.
New Yorkers will vote on a ballot measure that includes redistricting reform in November. If the measure passes, the committee’s schedule will be brought forward and it will have to submit the final draft to the legislature earlier in January than currently scheduled.