Demographics of New York City

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Population growth (blue) and population loss (red) from 1990 to 2000. (Click on image to see full key and data.)

The demographics of New York City are evidence of a large and ethnically diverse metropolis.[1] It is the largest city in the United States with a population defined by a long history of international immigration. New York City is home to more than 8 million people, accounting for about 40% of the population of New York State and a slightly lower percentage of the New York metropolitan area, home to approximately 23.4 million. Over the last decade the city has been growing faster than the region. The New York region continues to be by far the leading metropolitan gateway for legal immigrants admitted into the United States.[2][3][4][5]

Throughout its history, New York City has been a major point of entry for immigrants; the term "melting pot" was coined to describe densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York,[6][7] making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.[7][8] English remains the most widely spoken language, and New York is the largest English-speaking city in the world, although there are areas of Queens and Brooklyn in which up to 20% of people speak English only a little or not at all. Neighborhoods such as Flushing, Sunset Park, and Corona are the least English-speaking communities.

New York's five boroughs overview
JurisdictionPopulationLand area
BoroughCounty1 July 2012
ManhattanNew York1,619,0902359
The BronxBronx1,408,47342109
Staten IslandRichmond470,72858151
Source: United States Census Bureau[9][10][11]


Historical population
YearPop.  ±%  
1880 & 1890 figures include part of the Bronx. Beginning with 1900, figures are for consolidated city of five boroughs. For the same area before 1900, see #Historical Population data, below. Sources: 1698–1771,[12] 1790–1990,[13] 2000 and 2010 Censuses [9]

New York is the most populous city in the United States, with an estimated 8,336,697 people living in the city, according to the most recent U.S. Census Data dated July 1, 2012[14] (up from 8,175,133 in 2010 and 8.0 million in 2000 and 7.3 million in 1990).[9] New York's two key demographic features are its population density and cultural diversity. The city's population density of 26,403 people per square mile (10,194/km²), makes it the densest of any American municipality with a population above 100,000.[15] Manhattan's population density is 66,940 people per square mile (25,846/km²), highest of any county in the United States.[16][17]

New York City is multicultural. About 36% of the city's population is foreign-born,[18] one of the highest among US cities. The eleven nations constituting the largest sources of modern immigration to New York City are the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Russia and El Salvador.[19]

The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel.[20] It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's Indian Americans and 15% of all Korean Americans[21][22] and the largest Asian Indian population in the Western Hemisphere; the largest African American community of any city in the country; and including 6 Chinatowns in the city proper,[23] comprised as of 2008 a population of 659,596 overseas Chinese,[24] the largest outside of Asia. New York City alone, according to the 2010 Census, has now become home to more than one million Asian Americans, greater than the combined totals of San Francisco and Los Angeles.[25] New York contains the highest total Asian population of any U.S. city proper.[26] 6.0% of New York City is of Chinese ethnicity, with about forty percent of them living in the borough of Queens alone. Koreans make up 1.2% of the city's population, and Japanese at 0.3%. Filipinos are the largest southeast Asian ethnic group at 0.8%, followed by Vietnamese who make up only 0.2% of New York City's population. Indians are the largest South Asian group, comprising 2.4% of the city's population, and Bangladeshis and Pakistanis at 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively.[27]

The largest ethnic groups as of the 2005 census estimates are: African American, African or Caribbean, Puerto Ricans, Italians, West Indians, Dominicans, Chinese, Irish, Russian, and German.[28][29] The Puerto Rican population of New York City is the largest outside Puerto Rico.[30] Italians emigrated to the city in large numbers in the early 20th century, establishing several "Little Italies". The Irish also have a notable presence, along with Germans.

New York City has a high degree of income variation. In 2005 the median household income in the highest census tract was reported to be $188,697, while in the lowest it was $9,320.[31] The variance is driven by wage growth in high income brackets, while wages have stagnated for middle and lower income brackets. In 2006 the average weekly wage in Manhattan was $1,453, the highest and fastest growing among the largest counties in the United States.[32] The borough is also experiencing a "baby boom" among the wealthy that is unique among U.S. cities. Since 2000, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan has grown by more than 32%.[33]

In 2000, about 3 out of every 10 New York City housing units were owner-occupied, compared to about 2 owner-occupied units out of every 3 units in the U.S. as a whole.[34] Rental vacancy is usually between 3% and 4.5%, well below the 5% threshold defined to be a housing emergency, justifying the continuation of rent control and rent stabilization. About 33% of rental units fall under rent stabilization, according to which increases are adjudicated periodically by city agencies. Rent control covers only a very small number of rental units.[35] Some critics point to New York City's strict zoning and other regulations as partial causes for the housing shortage, but during the city's decline in population from the 1960s through the 1980s, a large number of apartment buildings suffered suspected arson fires or were abandoned by their owners. Once the population trend was reversed, with rising prospects for rentals and sales, new construction has resumed, but generally for purchasers in higher income brackets.

New York is the largest city in the United States, with the city proper's population more than double the next largest city, Los Angeles (or roughly equivalent to the combined populations of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, the United States' second, third, and fourth most populous cities respectively). The city has a population more than that of 39 U.S. states.[36] The estimated 2009 population of New York City is 8,391,881 (up from 7.072 million in 1980).[13][37] This amounts to about 40% of New York State's population and a similar percentage of the metropolitan regional population. Over the last decade the city has been growing rapidly. Demographers estimate New York's population will reach between 9.4 and 9.7 million by 2030.[38] In 2000 the reported life expectancy of New Yorkers was above the national average. Life expectancy for females born in 2009 in New York City is 80.2 years and for males is 74.5 years.[39]

New York City compared
Census Data
New York CityLos AngelesChicagoNew York StateUnited States
Total population8,175,1333,792,8202,695,59819,378,102308,745,538
Population, percent change,
2000 to 2010
Population density27,012
/sq. mi.
/sq. mi.
/sq. mi.
/sq. mi.
/sq. mi.
Median household income (1999)$38,293$36,687$38,625$43,393$41,994
Per capita income (1999)$22,402$20,671$20,175$23,389$21,587
Bachelor's degree or higher27%26%26%27%24%
Foreign born36%41%21.7%20%13%
(any race)

New York's two key demographic features are its density and diversity. The city has an extremely high population density of 26,403 people per square mile (10,194/km²), about 10,000 more people per square mile than the next densest large American city, San Francisco.[41] Manhattan's population density is 66,940 people per square mile (25,846/km²).[17]

The city has a long tradition of attracting international immigration and Americans seeking careers in certain sectors. As of 2006, New York City has ranked number one for seven consecutive years as the city most U.S. residents would most like to live in or near.[42]


Throughout its history New York City has been a principal entry point for immigration to the United States. These immigrants often form ethnic enclaves, neighborhoods dominated by one ethnicity. The city experienced major immigration from Europe in the 19th century and another major wave in the early 20th century. Since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, and particularly since the 1980s, New York City has seen renewed rates of high immigration. Newer immigrants are from Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. 36% of the city's population is foreign-born.[18] Among U.S. cities, this proportion is higher only in Los Angeles and Miami.[17] In New York no single country or region of origin dominates. The eleven largest countries of origin are the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Russia and El Salvador.[43] About 170 languages are spoken in the city.[44] Between 1990 and 2000 the city admitted 1,224,524 immigrants.[45] Demographers and city officials have observed that immigration to New York City has been slowing since 1997. This is mostly due to more and more immigrants choosing directly to locate to the city's suburbs and then commute to the city or work in many of its booming edge cities like Fort Lee, NJ, Jersey City, Hempstead, NY, Morristown, NJ, Stamford, CT, White Plains, NY and others. Despite the slowdown in immigration the city's overall immigrant population has continued to increase and in 2006 it numbered 3.038 million (37.0%) up from 2.871 million (35.9%) in 2000.[46][47]

2006-2008 American Community Survey for the U.S. Census:
Hispanic or Latino (Of Any Race)
Black or African American
American Indian
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
Other races

Demographic profile[edit]

Immigrant Africans, Caribbeans, and African Americans make up 25.1% of New York City's population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 2,086,566 black people residing in New York City. Percentage wise, approximately two out of every five black residents of New York City resides in Brooklyn (primarily in the Central, Northern, and Eastern sections of the borough), one out of every five resides in Bronx (mainly in the borough's Northeastern, Southeastern and Southern sections) one out of every five resides in Queens (mainly in the borough's Southeastern area), with the remaining black residents residing in Manhattan (primarily in Harlem) and Staten Island (mainly the North Shore of the borough).

Native Americans make up 0.4% of New York City's population. According to the survey, there were 29,569 Native Americans residing in New York City. Of 29,569 Native Americans, 2,075 were of the Cherokee tribal grouping. In addition, 213 were of the Navajo tribal grouping. Also, 42 people identified themselves as Chippewa, and 47 people identified themselves as Sioux. There is a number of Mohawks indigenous to the New York city area and/or Upstate New York, and many Mohawks arrived in the 1930s to work in the skyscraper building construction industry.[48] And a few Lenape Indians indigenous to the New York city area still remain in the city, migrated from other rural parts to Manhattan.[49]

Asian Americans make up 11.8% of New York City's population. According to the survey, there were 976,807 Asian Americans residing in New York City. Of 976,807 Asian Americans, 445,145 were of Chinese descent, representing 5.4% of the city's population. In addition, there were 226,888 Indian Americans residing in the city, representing 2.7% of the population. Approximately 103,660 people identified themselves as "Other Asian", a category that includes people of Cambodian, Laotian, Hmong, and Pakistani descent. Individuals in this category represent 1.2% of the city's population. There were 88,162 Korean Americans residing in the city, representing 1.1% of the population. Other Asian American groups include those of Filipino (68,826, 0.8%), Japanese (26,096, 0.3%), and Vietnamese (18,030, 0.2%) descent.

Pacific Islander Americans make up 0.1% of New York City's population. According to the survey, there were 4,941 Pacific Islander Americans residing in New York City. Of 4,941 Pacific Islander Americans, 1,992 were Native Hawaiian. Approximately 904 were of Samoan descent, and 504 were of Guamanian descent. In addition, 1,541 were of other Pacific Islander ancestries.

Multiracial Americans make up 2.1% of New York City's population. According to the survey, there were 177,643 multiracial Americans residing in New York City. People of black and white ancestry numbered at 37,124, making up 0.4% of the population. People of white and Asian ancestry numbered at 22,242, making up 0.3% of the population. People of white/Native American ancestry (10,762) and black/Native American ancestry (10,221) each made up 0.1% of the city's population.

Hispanics and Latinos make up 27.5% of New York City's population. According to the American Community Survey, there were 2,287,905 Hispanic or Latino Americans residing in New York City. The Hispanic/Latino population is categorized with four groups, "Puerto Rican" (785,618 or 9.4%), "Mexican" (297,581 or 3.6%), "Cuban" (42,377 or 0.5%), and "Other Hispanic or Latino" (1,165,576 or 14.0%).[50]

According to the 2006-2007 Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies:[51]

White Americans make up 44.6% of New York City's population. According to the survey, there were 3,704,243 White Americans residing in New York City. White Americans of non-Hispanic origin make up 35.1% of the city's population. There are 2,918,976 non-Hispanic whites residing in the city. Much of New York City's European American population consists of individuals of Italian, Irish, German, Russian, Polish, English, and Greek ancestry.[52]

Note: This source contains all of the numerical information in the data above.

White European ancestries[edit]

According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, the top ten White, European ancestries were the following:[53]

Other smaller European ancestries include:

Diversity of New York City's boroughs[edit]

According to a 2001 study by Claritas, four of the city's five boroughs ranked among the nation's twenty most diverse counties. Queens ranked 1st, Brooklyn 3rd, Manhattan 7th, and The Bronx 17th. In addition, Hudson County and Essex County, New Jersey, both of which are part of the New York Metropolitan Area, ranked 6th and 15th, respectively.[54]

The city has several demographically unique characteristics. Queens is the only large county in the United States where the median income among black households, about $52,000 a year, has surpassed that of whites.[55] It is also the nation's most ethnically diverse county.[56]

The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel.[57] It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's Indian American population,[58] and the largest African American community of any city in the country. New York City, with about 800,000 Puerto Rican residents, has the largest Puerto Rican population outside of Puerto Rico. Another historically significant ethnic group are Italians, who emigrated to the city in large numbers in the early 20th century. New York City is home to the largest Italian American population in the United States. The Irish and Germans also have a notable presence.

% Foreign-born by borough 1970-2006




Staten Island9.09.811.816.420.9
of any
 % not
of % not
RaceEthnicityReligious groups
Staten Island443,72877.
NYC Total8,008,27844.726.69.814.04.927.0371713624
NY State18,976,45767.915.
Source: 2000 Census[60]

American Indian, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander make up 2.9% of the population of NYC, and have been included with "Other".

Source for religious groups: ARDA[61]


The 2000 census counted 3,021,588 households with a median income of $38,293. 30% of households had children under the age of 18, and 37% were married couples living together. 19% had a single female householder, and 39% were non-families. 32% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10% were single residents 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 persons, and the average family size was 3.32.

The age range was as follows: 24% were under the age of 18, 10% between 18 and 24, 33% between 25 to 44, 21% between 45 to 64, and 12% were 65 or older. The median age in New York City in 2000 was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86 males.

The borough of Manhattan is experiencing a "baby boom" that is unique among U.S. cities. Since 2000, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan has grown by more than 32%.[62] The increase is driven mostly by affluent white families with median household incomes over $300,000.


Overall, nominal household income in New York City is characterized by large variations. This phenomenon is especially true of Manhattan, which in 2005 was home to the highest incomes U.S. census tract, with a household income of $188,697, as well as the lowest, where household income was $9,320.[63] The disparity is driven in part by wage growth in high income brackets. In 2006 the average weekly wage in Manhattan was $1,453, the highest among the largest counties in the United States.[32] Wages in Manhattan were the fastest growing among the nation's 10 largest counties.[32] Among young adults in New York who work full-time, women now earn more money than men — approximately $5,000 more in 2005.[64] Nationally, women's wages still lag behind men.

New York City's borough of Manhattan is the highest nominal income county in the United States. In particular, ZIP code 10021 on Manhattan's Upper East Side, with more than 100,000 inhabitants and a per capita income of over $90,000, has one of the largest concentrations of income in the United States. The other boroughs, especially Queens and Staten Island, have large middle-class populations.

New York City's per capita income in 2000 was $22,402; men and women had a median income of $37,435 and $32,949 respectively. 21.2% of the population and 18.5% of families had incomes below the federal poverty line; 30.0% of this group were under the age of 18 and 17.8% were 65 and older.

The New Yorker with the highest wealth and income is oil magnate David H. Koch whose net worth is an estimated $44 billion (Forbes, March 2013)[65] to $34 billion (Bloomberg, April 2013),[66] an increase of $3 to $5 billion a year since 2007, when his wealth was about $12 billion.[67] Of Forbes Magazine's 400 richest American billionaires, 70 live in New York City.[65] New York City's present mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is himself one of the nation's richest men. As of 2009 New York has regained the number one spot as the city with most billionaires (55), after losing out to Moscow in 2008.



age in
The Bronx$34,156$46,29827.1%
Staten Island$66,985$81,4989.8%
New York City$48,631$75,80918.5%
New York State$53,514$77,86513.7%
United States$50,140$69,19313.0%


New York has ranked first in population among American cities since the first census in 1790. New York will maintain this position, although there are varying forecasts on how much the population will increase. The most realistic population projections from the Department of City Planning anticipate a 1.1 million increase by 2030, bringing the city's population total to 9.1 million.

While the city's projected 2030 population will be a new high, only two boroughs, Staten Island and Queens have reached their population peak every year for the last 5 years. The study projects that by 2030, Queens will have 2.57 million people and Staten Island 552,000. Manhattan, with 1.83 million, Bronx with 1.46 million and Brooklyn with 2.72 million, will still be below their population peaks.[68]

Disputed 2010 Census data[edit]

On March 27, 2011, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city would file a formal challenge to the Census results, as a result of alleged undercounting in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.[69] The mayor has asserted that the numbers for Queens and Brooklyn, the two most populous boroughs, are implausible.[70] According to the Census, they grew by only 0.1% and 1.6%, respectively, while the other boroughs grew by between 3% and 5%. In addition, the Mayor claims, the census showed improbably high amounts of vacant housing in vital neighborhoods such as Jackson Heights, Queens.

Historical Population data[edit]

Historical Population of the present area of New York City and its boroughs * [9][37][71][72]
YearManhattanBrooklynQueensBronxStaten Is.Total
* All population figures are consistent with present-day boundaries.
† First census after the consolidation of the five boroughs


Racial/ethnic self-identification in New York City in the year 2000 (data from Census 2000). Each dot is 25 people.

African diaspora[edit]

125th Street in Harlem, an African and African American cultural center.

According to the 2010 Census, New York City had the largest population of self-defined black residents of any U.S. city, with over 2 million within the city's boundaries, although this number has decreased since 2000.[73] New York City had more black people than did the entire state of California until the 1980 Census. The black population consists of immigrants and their descendants from Africa and the Caribbean as well as native-born African-Americans. Many of the city's black residents live in Brooklyn and The Bronx. Several of the city's neighborhoods are historical birthplaces of urban black culture in America, among them the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant and Manhattan's Harlem and various sections of Eastern Queens and The Bronx. Bedford-Stuyvesant is considered to have the highest concentration of black residents in the United States. New York City has the largest population of black immigrants (at 686,814) and descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean (especially from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, Belize, Grenada, and Haiti), and of sub-Saharan Africans. In a news item of April 3, 2006, however, the New York Times noted that for the first time since the American Civil War, the recorded African American population was declining, because of emigration to other regions, a declining African American birthrate in New York, and decreased immigration of blacks from the Caribbean and Africa.[74]

In 2005, the median income among black households in Queens was almost $52,000 a year, surpassing that of whites.[75]

The Bronx[edit]




Staten Island[edit]



An intersection in Manhattan Chinatown

The New York City Metropolitan Area contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside Asia, enumerating 682,265 individuals as of the 2010 United States Census,[76] including at least 9 Chinatowns, comprising the original Manhattan Chinatown, three in Queens (the Flushing Chinatown, the Elmhurst Chinatown, and the newly emerged Chinatown in Corona), three in Brooklyn (the Sunset Park Chinatown, the Avenue U Chinatown, and the Bensonhurst Chinatown), and one each in Edison, New Jersey and Nassau County, Long Island,[77] not to mention fledgling ethnic Chinese enclaves emerging throughout the New York City metropolitan area. Chinese Americans as a whole have had a (relatively) long tenure in New York City. The first Chinese immigrants came to Lower Manhattan around 1870, looking for the "gold" America had to offer.[78] By 1880, the enclave around Five Points was estimated to have from 200 to as many as 1,100 members.[78] However, the Chinese Exclusion Act, which went into effect in 1882, caused an abrupt decline in the number of Chinese who emigrated to New York and the rest of the United States.[78] Later, in 1943, the Chinese were given a small quota, and the community's population gradually increased until 1968, when the quota was lifted and the Chinese American population skyrocketed.[78]

Manhattan's Chinatown is one of the largest Chinese communities outside Asia. Within Manhattan's expanding Chinatown lies Little Fuzhou on East Broadway and surrounding streets, occupied predominantly by immigrants from the Fujian Province of Mainland China. Areas surrounding "Little Fuzhou" consist mostly of Cantonese immigrants from Guangdong Province. In the past few years, however, the Cantonese dialect that has dominated Chinatown for decades is being rapidly swept aside by Mandarin, the national language of China and the lingua franca of most of the latest Chinese immigrants.[79] The energy and population of Manhattan's Chinatown are fueled by relentless, massive immigration from Mainland China, both legal and illegal in origin, propagated in large part by New York's high density of habitation, extensive mass transit system, and huge economic marketplace.

The early settlers of Manhattan's Chinatown were mostly from Taishan and Hong Kong of the Guangdong Province of China, where Cantonese is spoken, and also from Shanghai.[80] They form most of the Chinese population of the area surrounded by Mott and Canal Streets.[80] The later settlers, from Fuzhou, Fujian, form the Chinese population of the area bounded by East Broadway.[80] Chinatown's modern borders are roughly Delancey Street on the north, Chambers Street on the south, East Broadway on the east, and Broadway on the west.[81]

Queens Library in Flushing Chinatown, the first satellite of the original Manhattan Chinatown.
The Elmhurst Chinatown on Broadway, now a satellite of the Flushing Chinatown in Queens itself.

The Flushing Chinatown, in the Flushing area of the borough of Queens in New York City, is one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic Chinese enclaves outside Asia, as well as within New York City itself. Main Street and the area to its west, particularly along Roosevelt Avenue, have become the primary nexus of Flushing Chinatown. However, Flushing Chinatown continues to expand southeastward along Kissena Boulevard and northward beyond Northern Boulevard. In the 1970s, a Chinese community established a foothold in the neighborhood of Flushing, whose demographic constituency had been predominantly non-Hispanic white. Taiwanese began the surge of immigration, followed by other groups of Chinese. By 1990, Asians constituted 41% of the population of the core area of Flushing, with Chinese in turn representing 41% of the Asian population.[82] However, ethnic Chinese are constituting an increasingly dominant proportion of the Asian population as well as of the overall population in Flushing and its Chinatown. A 1986 estimate by the Flushing Chinese Business Association approximated 60,000 Chinese in Flushing alone.[83] Mandarin Chinese (including Northeastern Mandarin), Fuzhou dialect, Min Nan Fujianese, Wu Chinese, Beijing dialect, Wenzhounese, Shanghainese, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and English are all prevalently spoken in Flushing Chinatown. Even the relatively obscure Dongbei style of cuisine indigenous to Northeast China is now available there.[84] Given its rapidly growing status, the Flushing Chinatown may surpass in size and population the original New York City Chinatown in the Borough of Manhattan within a few years, and it is debatable that this may have already happened.

One of the Brooklyn Chinatowns. New York City's satellite Chinatowns in Queens and Brooklyn are thriving as traditionally urban enclaves, as large-scale Chinese immigration into New York continues,[85][86][87][88] with the largest metropolitan Chinese population outside Asia.[89]

By 1988, 90% of the storefronts on Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, were abandoned. Chinese immigrants then moved into this area, not only new arrivals from China, but also members of Manhattan's Chinatown seeking refuge from high rents, who flocked to the cheap property costs and rents of Sunset Park and formed the Brooklyn Chinatown,[90] which now extends for 20 blocks along 8th Avenue, from 42nd to 62nd Streets. This relatively new but rapidly growing Chinatown located in Sunset Park was originally settled by Cantonese immigrants like Manhattan's Chinatown in the past. However, in the recent decade, an influx of Fuzhou immigrants has been pouring into Brooklyn's Chinatown and supplanting the Cantonese at a significantly higher rate than in Manhattan's Chinatown, and Brooklyn's Chinatown is now home to mostly Fuzhou immigrants. In the past, during the 1980s and 1990s, the majority of newly arriving Fuzhou immigrants settled within Manhattan's Chinatown, and the first Little Fuzhou community emerged within Manhattan's Chinatown; by the first decade of the 21st century, however, the epicenter of the massive Fuzhou influx had shifted to Brooklyn's Chinatown, which is now home to the fastest-growing and perhaps largest Fuzhou population in New York City. Unlike the Little Fuzhou in Manhattan's Chinatown, which remains surrounded by areas which continue to house significant populations of Cantonese, all of Brooklyn's Chinatown is swiftly consolidating into New York City's new Little Fuzhou. However, a growing community of Wenzhounese immigrants from China's Zhejiang Province is now also arriving in Brooklyn's Chinatown.[91][92] Also in contrast to Manhattan's Chinatown, which still successfully continues to carry a large Cantonese population and retain the large Cantonese community established decades ago in its western section, where Cantonese residents have a communal venue to shop, work, and socialize, Brooklyn's Chinatown is very quickly losing its Cantonese community identity.[93]

Elmhurst, another neighborhood in Queens, also has a large Chinese community.[94] Previously a small area with Chinese shops on Broadway between 81st Street and Cornish Avenue, this new Chinatown has now expanded to 45th Avenue and Whitney Avenue.

Avenue U in Homecrest, Brooklyn supports New York City's newest Chinatown, as evidenced by the growing number of Chinese-run fruit markets, restaurants, beauty and nail salons, and computer and general electronics dealers. Bensonhurst, Brooklyn also supports one of New York City's newest Chinatowns, again evidenced by a growing number of Chinese food markets, restaurants and other local businesses.


A scene at the Philippine Independence Day Parade 2013 in New York City.

New York City is home to about 68,000 Filipinos. Immigration from the Philippines began mainly after 1965, when immigration quotas that prevented Filipino immigration for many years were abolished. While there was earlier immigration from the Philippines, it was in low numbers and mainly concentrated in Hawaii and California. Since then, Filipinos have settled in Northeastern cities, mainly in New York City. Most of these immigrants have been professionals (doctors, nurses, other medical professions, accountants and engineers).

New York City annually hosts the Philippine Independence Day Parade, which is traditionally held on the first Sunday of June at Madison Avenue. The celebration occupies nearly twenty-seven city blocks which includes a 3.5-hour parade and an all-day long street fair and cultural performances.

A "Little Manila" can be found in Woodside, in the borough of Queens.

Filipinos are also concentrated in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst. There are also smaller Filipino communities in Jamaica and parts of Brooklyn. The Benigno Aquino triangle is located in Hillside Avenue of Hollis to commemorate the large Filipino American population in the area.[95]

Although not technically part of New York City, other large Filipino populations just outside of the City's borders can be found in neighboring Northeastern New Jersey, particularly in Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic counties.

Queens Village is seeing a growing Filipino population.[citation needed]


New York City is home to 100,000 ethnic Koreans, with two-thirds living in Queens.[96] On the other hand, the overall Greater New York Combined Statistical Area[97] enumerated 218,764 Korean American residents as of the 2010 United States Census, the second largest population of Koreans outside of Korea.

South Asian[edit]

According to 2007 American Community Survey estimates, New York City is home to approximately 315,000 people from the Indian subcontinent, which includes the countries of India (236,117), Pakistan (39,002), Bangladesh (34,332), and Sri Lanka (5,010). South Asians constitute 3.8% of New York City's population.[98] The New York City Metropolitan Area is home to approximately 600,000 Indian Americans, representing the largest Asian Indian population in the Western Hemisphere. A majority of the South Asian residents are concentrated in Queens neighborhoods such as Jackson Heights, Flushing, Glen Oaks, Floral Park, Bellerose, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, and Elmhurst. In the borough of Queens, the South Asian population is approximately 186,000, where they constitute 8.2% of the population. South Asians from the Caribbean majority from Guyana, Trinidad, and a small number from Jamaica are also large in number.

According to the 2010 United States Census, there are 192,209 Asian Indians, 53,174 Bangladeshis, 41,887 Pakistanis, and 3,696 Sri Lankans in New York City.[99]

The New York City Metropolitan Area contains the largest Sri Lankan community in the United States (second largest in North America after Toronto, Canada), receiving the highest legal permanent resident Sri Lankan immigrant population.[100] The Little Sri Lanka in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of the borough of Staten Island is one of the largest Sri Lankan communities outside of the country of Sri Lanka itself.[101][102]



Australians continue to migrate to New York City and surrounding areas.[103]

Eastern Mediterranean[edit]


A Syrian man selling cold drinks in Lower Manhattan, circa 1908

Arabs first immigrated to New York city in the 1880s, the vast majority of them came from modern day Lebanon and Syria. Before the advent of modern Lebanon in August, 1920 and due to the political and historical nature of Ottoman-occupied Syria, the majority of Lebanese and Syrians referred to themselves as "Syrian" on arrival to Ellis Island.[104] Little by little, starting in the 1930s, immigrants from Lebanon started referring to themselves as "Lebanese American" and immigrants from Syria retained the designation "Syrian American". From 1880 to 1960 the overwhelming majority (90%) of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants were of the Christian faith.[105] After 1960, especially after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Arab Muslims from other Arab countries and territories such as Palestine, Jordan, and Egypt started arriving in New York. The Syrian/Lebanese mother colony was located around Washington street in Lower Manhattan, in a neighborhood called Little Syria.[106] Syrian immigration to the United States was very small with respect to the other ethnic groups or peoples that arrived in America. In 1910, at the peak of Syrian immigration, only 60 000 Syrians entered the United States.[104]

Around the late 1930s Little Syria started to go into decline with the construction of skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan. In the name of urban renewal, the skyscraper era was ushered in and preceded with the destruction of 5 story tenements that Syrians called home. The final blow to Little Syria commenced with the construction of the Brooklyn battery tunnel in 1940. A large percentage of the community moved to the area around downtown Brooklyn; and set up shops and businesses on Atlantic Avenue. St. George's Syrian Catholic Church is the last physical reminder of the Syrian- and Lebanese-American community that once lived in Little Syria.[104] In Brooklyn there are two long time established businesses still open on Atlantic Avenue. Damascus Bakery is still in business since 1936, and Sahadi's has had a strong loyal customer base since 1948. By the 1960s the community was to move yet again this time to Park Slope and Bay Ridge.[107]

The New York metro area contains the largest concentration of populations with Arab and Middle Eastern ancestry in the U.S., with 230,899 residents of the metro area claiming Arab ancestry in the 2000 U.S. Census.[108] An estimated 70,000 lived in New York City proper as of 2000.[109][110] New York City holds the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, founded in 2003 by comedian Dean Obeidallah and comedienne Maysoon Zayid.


Two girls wearing banners with the slogan "ABOLISH CHILD SLAVERY!!" in English and Yiddish. Probably taken during the May 1st, 1909 New York labor parade.

The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish population in the world outside Israel. Until late 2005 or early 2006, when Israel surpassed the United States as having the largest Jewish population in the world, the New York metropolitan area had more Jews than Tel Aviv. After dropping from a peak of 2.5 million in the 1950s to a low of 1.4 million in 2002 the population of Jews in the New York metropolitan area grew to 1.54 million in 2011. A study by the UJA-Federation of New York released in 2012[111] showed that the proportion of liberal Jews was decreasing while the proportion of generally conservative Orthodox Jews and recent immigrants from Russia was increasing. Much of this growth is in Brooklyn, which in 2012 was 23% Jewish and where most of the Russian immigrants live and nearly all of the ultra-orthodox.[112] The study by UJA-Federation of New York has been criticized by J.J. Goldberg, an observer at The Jewish Daily Forward, as excluding suburban Jews, for example in New Jersey, that are outside the service area of UJA-Federation of New York and also for lack of granularity with respect to the Orthodox of New York City.[113] The New York metropolitan area's Jewish population in 2001 was approximately 1.97 million, 600,000 fewer than in Israel's largest metropolitan area, denoted as Gush Dan. In 2012, an estimated 1,086,000 Ashkenazic Jews lived in New York City and constituted about 12% of the city's population, while approximately 100,000 Sephardic Jews live in the city too. New York City is also home to the world headquarters of the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group and the Bobover, Pupa, Vizhnitz and Satmar branches of Hasidism, ultra-Orthodox sects of Judaism.[citation needed]

The first Jewish presence in New York City dates to the arrival of 23 Jewish refugees in 1654, who fled from Recife, Brazil, after the Portuguese conquered New Holland and brought the Inquisition with them.[114] Major immigration of Jews to New York began in the 1880s, with the increase of Anti-Semitic actions in Central and Eastern Europe. The number of Jews in New York City soared throughout the beginning of the 20th century and reached a peak of 2 million in the 1950s, when Jews constituted one-quarter of the city's population. New York City's Jewish population then began to decline because of low fertility rates and migration to suburbs and other states, particularly California and Florida.

A new wave of Ashkenazi, Bukharian, and Georgian Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union began arriving in the 1980s and 1990s. Sephardic Jews including Syrian, Moroccan and other Jews of non-European origin have also lived in New York City since the 17th century. Many Jews, including the newer immigrants, have settled in Queens, south Brooklyn, and the Bronx, where at present most live in middle-class neighborhoods such as Riverdale.[citation needed] Sephardic Jews estimated at 100,000 strong have settled along Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn creating a unified community consisting of about 75,000 people in this area, while the other Sephardic Jews live in the Upper East Side of Manhattan and in Staten Island.

19th-century Jewish immigrants settled mainly in the tenement houses of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. New York City's current Jewish population is dispersed among all the boroughs; Brooklyn's Jewish population in 2011 was estimated as 561,000, and Manhattan's was 240,000.[115]

The Orthodox community is rapidly growing due to higher birthrates among Orthodox (especially Hasidic) Jews, while the numbers of Conservative and Reform Jews are declining.[116] 60% of the Jewish children in New York are Orthodox, 37% Hasidic. This accelerating dynamic is accompanied by a substantial rise in the percentage of Jews who live in poverty.[112]

Like the Irish and Italian, the Jewish community has played an important role in recent New York City politics; Jewish voters traditionally vote in large numbers and have often supported politically liberal policies. As the proportion of liberal Conservative and Reform Jews decreases and that of conservative Russian and Orthodox Jews increases in the 21st Century the political interests of New York Jews are changing. The Russian immigrants have shown a tendency to vote Republican while the ultra-orthodox are social conservatives who have a pressing need for supportive social services. There is little support among either group for the liberal community institutions which have been built by the liberal Jewish community. A significant portion of the rapidly-growing Hasidic community is anti-Zionist and does not support Israel.[112]



Carl Schurz, a refugee from the unsuccessful first German democratic revolution of 1848, served as United States Secretary of the Interior and as United States Senator from Missouri. Carl Schurz Park in Manhattan is named after him.

The influence of German immigration can still be felt in areas of New York City. The Yorkville neighborhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan was a center of German-American culture. As of the 2000 census 255,536 New Yorkers reported German ancestry.[117]

In the middle of the 19th century, Little Germany, situated in what is now termed Alphabet City, was the first non-English-speaking urban enclave in the United States.


Greek immigration to New York City began mainly in the 1890s. The push factors for immigration were the Balkan Wars and World War I. Greek immigration to New York City took place between 1890 until around 1917. In the latter years more women arrived and communities began to grow, especially in Astoria, Queens. Greeks again began to arrive in large numbers after 1945, as they fled the economic devastation caused by World War II and the Greek Civil War.

In the first immigration wave, most of the Greek immigrants were men. Many of them worked in industrial labor jobs, and others created a niche in the fur business. This immigration wave brought 450,000 Greeks to the Northeast, largely concentrated in New York City. The second immigration wave taking place after 1945 and 1982, was smaller with a total of 211,000 immigrants, mostly within the Northeast. However, new immigrants helped revive assimilating Greek communities and added new energy to a sense of ethnic identity.

The largest concentration of Greeks can still be found in Astoria. The Greek community there was established in the early 20th century immigration. The neighborhood still has many Greek food stores and restaurants. Residents of Greek descent make up 1.0% of New York City's population.


The Irish community is one of New York's major ethnic groups and has been a significant proportion of the city's population since the waves of immigration in the mid-19th century. New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade dates to 1762.

During the Great Irish Famine (1845–1851), Irish families were forced to emigrate from Ireland; by 1854, between 1.5 and 2 million people were forced to leave the country - about a quarter of the pre-famine population. In the United States, most of the recently arrived Irish became city dwellers as that was where work was. In addition, arriving with little money, many settled in the cities at which their ships made port. By 1850, the Irish made up a quarter of the population in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Their arrival in the United States before other waves of Catholic immigrants meant that ethnic Irish long dominated the Roman Catholic Church in America. They created a strong network of churches and parochial schools to support their communities.

The Irish have long played a significant role in city politics, the Roman Catholic Church, and the New York City Fire Department and Police Department. As of the 2000 census, 520,810 New Yorkers reported Irish ancestry.[118]

According to a 2006 genetic survey by Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, about one in 50 New Yorkers of European origin carry a distinctive genetic signature on their Y chromosomes inherited from Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish high king of the 5th century A.D.[119]


Street vendors at the Feast of San Gennaro in Manhattan's Little Italy.

New York City has the largest population of Italian Americans in the United States of America, many of whom inhabit ethnic enclaves in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.

The largest wave of Italian immigration to the United States took place in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Between 1820 and 1978, 5.3 million Italians immigrated to the United States, including over two million between 1900 and 1910. Only the Irish and Germans immigrated in larger numbers. Italian families first settled in Little Italy's neighborhoods, the first and most famous one being the one around Mulberry Street, in Manhattan. This settlement, however, is rapidly becoming part of the adjacent Chinatown as the older Italian residents die and their children move elsewhere. As of the 2000 census, 692,739 New Yorkers reported Italian ancestry, making them the largest European ethnic group in the city.[120] New York metropolitan area is home to 3,372,512 Italians, which is among the largest concentration in the world after Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Milan and Rome metropolitan areas.


Polish immigration to New York City began at the end of the 20th century. In the 1980s, as a result of the Polish government's crackdown on the burgeoning Solidarność labor and political movement, Polish migration to the U.S. swelled. Polish-Americans and Polish immigrants in the city generally reside in Brooklyn (neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg) and in Queens (neighborhoods of Maspeth and Ridgewood). The combined neighborhood of Greenpoint/Williamsburg is sometimes referred to as "Little Poland" because of its large population of primarily working-class Polish immigrants, reportedly the second largest concentration in the United States, after Chicago. As of the 2000 census, 213,447 New Yorkers reported Polish ancestry.[121]

New York is home to a number of Polish and Polish-American cultural, community, and scientific institutions, including the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA) and the Polish Cultural Institute. Polish-language publications with circulation reaching outside the city include The Polish Review, an English-language scholarly journal published since 1956 by PIASA; Nowy Dziennik [4], founded in 1971; and Polska Gazeta [5], founded in the year 2000. The Polska Gazeta is the leading Polish-language daily newspaper in the tri-state area, delivering daily news to over 17,000 readers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Long Island and Delaware. The Polish Newspaper SuperExpress [6], covering New York, New Jersey & Connecticut started publication in 1996.

The Pulaski Day Parade in New York on Fifth Avenue has been celebrated since 1937 to commemorate Kazimierz Pułaski, a Polish hero of the American Revolutionary War. It closely coincides with the October 11 General Pulaski Memorial Day, a national observance of his death at the Siege of Savannah, and his held on the first Sunday of October. In these parades march Polish dancers, Polish soccer teams and their mascots, Polish Scouts - ZHP and Polish school ambassadors and representatives, such as Mikolaj Pastorino (Nicholas Pastorino) and Lech Wałęsa. The Pulaski Day Parade is one of the largest parades in New York City.


The Romanian community of New York City is the largest such community in North America. The 2000 Census reported 161,900 Romanians were living in New York City. They are mainly concentrated in The Bronx, as well as in parts of Manhattan and Staten Island. The Romanian Day Festival, for which the City closes a section of Broadway, demonstrates the strong sense of community of Romanians living in New York.


New York City contains a very large and growing Russian-Jewish population estimated at around 300,000. There are large numbers of Russian-Jews in Brooklyn, mostly in neighborhoods of Southern Brooklyn, notably Brighton Beach, also known as "Little Odessa", where there are many businesses and billboards with signage entirely in the Russian language. There is a significant Russian Orthodox population in New York City as well.


New York City contains a large and growing Ukrainian population. New York's Ukrainian population was traditionally centered around the East Village in Manhattan, as well as Brighton Beach (also known as "Little Odessa"), in Brooklyn. Urban flight and recent waves of new immigration have spread Ukrainians throughout the boroughs, with a heavy concentration in Brooklyn.


Puerto Rican[edit]

The 2005 National Puerto Rican Parade.

New York City has the largest Puerto Rican population outside of Puerto Rico. Attributable to the changing citizenship status of the island's residents, Puerto Ricans, can technically be said to have come to the City first as immigrants and subsequently as migrants. The first group of Puerto Ricans moved to New York in the mid-19th century, when Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony and its people Spanish subjects. The following wave of Puerto Ricans to move to New York did so after the Spanish-American War of 1898 made Puerto Rico a U.S. possession and after the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 gave Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship, which allows travel without the need of a passport between the island and the United States mainland. The largest wave of migration came in the 1950s, in what became known as "The Great Migration"; as a result, more than a million Puerto Ricans once called New York City home. Presently the Puerto Rican population is around 800,000.

Puerto Ricans have historically lived in neighborhoods such as the Lower East Side (also known in the community as Loisaida), Spanish Harlem and Williamsburg, Brooklyn since the 1950s. However, there has been an increase in Puerto Ricans in outlying areas of the city, such as the North Shore of Staten Island, and the eastern Bronx.


Immigration records of Dominicans in the United States date from the late 19th century, and New York City has had a Dominican community since the 1980s. From the 1960s onward, after the fall of the Rafael Trujillo military regime, large waves of migration have thoroughly transnationalized the Dominican Republic, metaphorically blurring its frontier with the United States.

In 2006 New York City's Dominican population decreased for the first time since the 1980s, dropping by 1.3% from 609,885 in 2006 to 602,093 in 2007. They are the city's second-largest Hispanic group and, in 2009, it was estimated that they compromised 24.9% of New York City's Latino population.[122]

Areas with high a concentration of Dominicans are in Washington Heights, Corona, and certain areas in the Bronx.


At the 2010 Census, there were 319,263 Mexican Americans living in New York City.[123] In 2009, it was estimated that of the city's Hispanic population, 13.5% was of Mexican origin.[122] Mexicans are the fastest growing group of Hispanic population.[73] Some estimates suggest that Mexicans will surpass both Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in 2023 to become the city’s largest national Latino sub-group, and that Dominicans will surpass Puerto Ricans in 2030 to become the second largest Latino nationality.[122] As of 2011, the Mexican Consulate estimated about 500,000 Mexicans lived in New York City, of whom 35,000 spoke a Mexican indigenous language.[124]


In 2009, it was estimated that 211,378 Ecuadorian Americans lived in New York City, representing 8.9% of the city's Hispanic population. They are the fourth largest sub-group of Hispanics, after Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Mexicans.[122]


Colombians have come in small numbers to New York City since the 1960s. The major exodus of Colombians from Colombia came in the early 1980s when many of Colombia's cities were facing hardships from drug traffickers, crime and lack of emplyoment. 75% of Colombians in New York City live in Queens, specifically in Jackson Heights, Corona, Elmhurst and Murray Hill.[125]


Since 1990, the Salvadoran population has been growing very rapidly in New York City. More than 50% of Salvadorans live in Queens, and the growth of their population is most notable in South Jamaica and Far Rockaway. Many Salvadorans reside in the Bronx as well. There are also pockets of Salvadorans in Brooklyn and in East Harlem, Manhattan.

See also[edit]


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