How Communities of Interest Are Evolving in New York City
A new report tracks the demographic changes that have taken place in New York City over the last decade.
NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2023 — The recent redistricting process in New York City led by the New York City Districting Commission ("Commission") redrew City Council district lines to adjust local representation of the city’s communities which have changed in the past decade. In recognition of the city’s demographic changes, the Commission sponsored a study by scholars from The City University of New York, led by Professor John Mollenkopf of the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center, to examine the evolution of the city’s racial and ethnic communities during the last decade. Their analysis also looks forward to the 2030 census to provide insights on how communities in New York City may evolve and be affected in the next round of redistricting. Interested parties and the public can access the report at nycoi2023.commons.gc.cuny.edu/nyc-communities-of-interest-report-2023/.
The report tracks the demographic changes that have taken place over the last decade both in terms of broad racial groups (white, Black, Latino, and Asian) and the many national-origin ethnic groups that comprise them, highlighting emerging trends.
Key findings include:
- Well-established ethnic groups in the city are declining in numbers, including African Americans and Puerto Ricans, while a host of newer immigrant-origin ethnic groups are growing.
- These dynamics are increasing the diversity of every broad racial group and blurring some of the boundaries between them. For example, while African Americans are decreasing, the overall Black population is growing, contrary to some recent press coverage, through the increase of Afro-Latinos and African immigrants and their children.
- Residential concentrations of these groups are evolving alongside the overall population mix. The classic white, semi-suburban neighborhoods of the outer boroughs are becoming more Asian, Latino, and Black, while remaining middle-class residential areas. The inner ring of minority working-class neighborhoods, by contrast, have become increasingly white, as younger families in professional occupations make their homes in neighborhoods that are more affordable than upper middle-class areas, such as the Upper West Side or Park Slope.
- Some older immigrant-origin groups such as West Indians, Koreans, and residents of the former Soviet Union seem to be diminishing in the city, along with the older native-born ethnic groups
- But new immigrant-origin groups, whether large ones like the Chinese or smaller groups like the Bangladeshis or Central Americans, are growing rapidly.
The report lays out a roadmap for how the city can prepare for the next round of redistricting.
It also concludes that New York City government, the nonprofit policy community, and academics at The City University of New York and elsewhere should pay close attention in the coming decade to how the city’s dynamic demographic patterns are playing out and consider launching a large panel study of New Yorkers to understand how residents from diverse backgrounds are faring.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR REPORTERS and EDITORS
- The appendix to the report contains many maps that will let you zero in on communities that interest you. Each map is available online at https://nycoi2023.commons.gc.cuny.edu/nyc-communities-of-interest-report-2023/ to be embedded in digital articles so your readers/viewers need not leave your website to explore the neighborhoods.
- The report contains many tables outlining the age distribution, incomes, and education levels of each group.
About the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center
The Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center organizes basic and applied research addressing the core issues facing New York and other large cities, often in partnership with foundations, public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other clients. It also trains students in research techniques and presents public forums on urban policy issues.
About the Graduate Center of The City University of New York
The CUNY Graduate Center is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students nearly 50 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest urban public university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, initiatives, and the Advanced Science Research Center, the Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.
About the New York City Districting Commission
The City Charter requires the City Council and the mayor to appoint an independent Districting Commission every 10 years, following the decennial census. The process ensures council districts continue to reflect population and demographic changes. After the commission is constituted, commission members and their staff will begin meeting to review all relevant laws, regulations, and the most recent census data. After a series of public hearings and meetings, the commission will develop a final plan, which must be submitted to the City Council by the end of the year.