What does the new census data tell us about Brooklyn?
New York’s largest borough just got a little bigger.
According to the New York City Planning Department, Brooklyn is only 2,100 fewer residents than its 1950 population peak.
Brooklyn has seen the most growth of any of New York’s five boroughs, according to recently released 2020 Census data, continuing trends recorded in the last census, making the borough more diverse overall.
The census counted an additional 231,374 residents, a 9.2% increase in the decade since 2010, bringing Brooklyn’s total population from 2.5 million to 2.74 million, making Brooklyn the most populated by the city. Queens, which jumped 7.8% from 2.23 million to 2.45 million over the past decade, remains second.
News of the count was cause for celebration among borough officials, including borough president and Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams.
“Brooklyn’s population growth over the past decade – a 9.2% increase recorded in #Census2020 – reflects how hard we’ve worked to make it a safer place to raise healthy children and families. “, said Adams. wrote on Twitter. “We’ve effectively tied Chicago as the 3rd largest city in America.”
In fact, all five boroughs grew, pushing the population of the nation’s largest city by more than 629,000 people, to a record 8.8 million people. 44% of all New York State residents now live in the city.
“The Big Apple just got bigger!” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted yesterday, thanking “all the workers in the city who made this record tally possible”.
The citywide surge came despite concerns that the census, which was taken during the brutal first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020, could underestimate the city’s population, potentially costing millions. billion to New York in federal aid.
That said, the increase may also have something to do with efforts by city officials to improve the data itself. The New York City Planning Department wrote in an explanatory article online that it had identified more than 122,000 dwellings in the city that had not previously been included in the US Census Bureau‘s master file. Many of them were “hard-to-find” units, the department said, often informal subdivisions in small multi-family buildings, and estimated its combined efforts had counted more than 500,000 people.
The agency also submitted over 140,000 newly built homes. Many of these units were added in parts of North and Central Brooklyn that also experienced significant population growth.
Digging deeper into Brooklyn’s numbers reveals some other interesting stats.
Brooklyn’s Asian population is the fastest growing of any demographic group in the borough; the community count at the 2020 census is 373,680, an increase of 42.5% from the 2010 population of 262,276. With this increase, people who identify as Asian make up 13.7% of the population of the district, against 10.5% in 2010.
Brooklyn’s black population, meanwhile, has fallen another 8.7% over the past decade, from 799,066 to 729,696. The community now makes up 26.7% of the borough’s population, compared to just under 32%. This continues a trend from the previous decade, when the percentage of Brooklyn’s black population fell from 34.4%
The borough’s white population increased by 8.4%, from 893,306 to 968,427. But their share of Brooklyn’s overall population decreased slightly, from 35.7% to 35.4%.
Maps from the New York City Planning Department show that the white population increased in several neighborhoods in central Brooklyn, while the black population in these neighborhoods decreased, continuing the trend from 2000 to 2010. Meanwhile, several South Brooklyn’s predominantly white neighborhoods became less white.
The number of Brooklynites who identify as Hispanic and Latino also increased by about 4.1%, from 496,285 to 516,426. But the group’s share of the borough’s total population also fell slightly. , from 19.8% to 18.9%.
Apart from race and ethnicity, population changes also showed geographic differences. The borough experienced the greatest population growth in two Assembly Districts: AD50 and AD57.
In AD50, which encompasses northern Brooklyn neighborhoods like Greenpoint and Williamsburg, the population increased about 26% from 124,059 to 156,296. Bordering AD57, which includes Fort Greene, Clinton Hill Prospect Heights and parts of Crown Heights, the population increased by 20.9%, from 123,531 to 149,364.
Analysis by the New York City Department of Planning reveals that specific neighborhoods with the fastest population growth, including Downtown Brooklyn-DUMBO-Boerum Hill (67% growth) and Williamsburg (41%) were also those with the greater number of new arrivals. homes built in the 2010s.
Another by writer Samuel Stern suggests the growth was driven at least in part by the burgeoning Orthodox Jewish population in Williamsburg.
Every Assembly District in the Borough has experienced overall population growth except one: AD42, which includes large swaths of Flatbush, East Flatbush, and Midwood. The population of this district decreased by 107 people, according to the data, from 123,835 to 123,728.
Steven Romalewski, director of the CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research, which produced initial map analyzes of the data, said the population decline in AD42 was small enough that “although it stands out on the map, I don’t think it’s a major trend or a noticeable change.”
“Remember that changes are net changes, which is especially important to keep in mind at the district level,” he told Bklyner in an email. “It is possible that in this district and in other local areas (census tracts) suffered population losses. It’s just that in other districts the gains were sufficient to offset the losses, and apparently in this district the gains were just less than the losses.”
But Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, who represents the district, suggested that former President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, as well as the challenges posed by the pandemic, were responsible for a depressed tally in the region.
“Our district is home to a large immigrant population,” she said. “Last year, we partnered with the Census for dozens of outreach events and felt residents’ reluctance to participate due to the Trump administration’s anti-immigration rhetoric and policies.”
“At the same time, we were also feeling the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. As residents of wealthier districts filled out the online census, residents here were grappling with some of the death rates and highest infection rates in the borough, and high unemployment rates that have led to exponential digital divide issues,” Bichotte-Hermelyn continued. “As in other high-immigration districts, this has resulted in a lower number. I think we can attribute that to those factors.”
Census numbers are used to determine how federal funding is distributed and are also important in redrawing congressional and state legislative boundaries in a process known as redistricting.
In April, New York State learned it had lost a congressional seat based on census data showing its population was a smaller proportion of the country’s total population. The new, more detailed data released by the US Census Bureau will guide a 10-state redistribution commission as it reshuffles the state’s districts to account for shifting populations.