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About Us > Press Releases Printer Friendly Version

January 24, 2005

CONTACT: Rachaele Raynoff, Press Secretary -- (212) 720-3471

Foreign-Born Swell NYC Population Figures, Strengthen Economy

City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Guillermo Linares, released a report today in Queens that demonstrates how continuing growth in immigration is fueling a new record total city population of more than 8.1 million. The citys foreign-born population rose from 28 percent of the total population in 1990 to 36 percent in 2000. This growth is most evident in Queens, where the largest percentage of the newest New Yorkers has settled.

The Department of City Plannings (DCP) much-anticipated Newest New Yorkers 2000: Immigrant New York in the New Millennium provides a detailed demographic and socioeconomic profile of New York City's 2.9-million foreign-born residents and their distribution throughout the city's five boroughs. The contributions of the foreign born offer a glimpse at the citys future make-up and promise a continued strong economy, bolstered by the strong representation of immigrants in the city's labor force.

"This report paints a fascinating picture of the strength of New York's immigrants in neighborhoods throughout the city, leaving no doubt why Mayor Bloomberg calls New York 'the world's home'," said DCP Director Amanda M. Burden at the Flushing Public Library. "It is our privilege and our responsibility to accommodate the newest New Yorkers with diverse choices in housing, jobs and open spaces that will keep this city a premier destination to live and work for all New Yorkers."

Immigrant New Yorkers are the workers, business owners and community builders who take our city to new heights, said MOIA Commissioner Guillermo Linares. In February, the Mayors Office of Immigrant Affairs will facilitate a strategic planning session to respond to the needs of the newest New Yorkers. We will also continue to work with city agencies to ensure that DCPs data analysis is incorporated into Language Access Plans and any discussions of public policy related to immigrants."

Joseph J. Salvo, Director of DCPs Population Division and co-author of the report, said, The Newest New Yorkers shows that immigration continues to alter the make-up of the city. Continued immigration has made New York unique among large cities, with a population and work force that continues to grow and anchor the entire region, notwithstanding economic ups and downs. He added, We already see it playing out in the increased demand for housing throughout the boroughs.

With the citys number of foreign born residents having doubled since 1970 from 1.4 million then to 2.9 million in 2000, the report sets the framework for these dramatic numbers with information on historic changes in immigration law and new details on city neighborhoods that have concentrations of immigrants. It paints a vivid picture of the citys major immigrant groups, specifying socioeconomic characteristics for each including gender, marital status, household composition, education, English-proficiency, income and housing.

Also included is an analysis of international immigration to the 31 county New York metropolitan region, which is now home to some 5.2 million immigrants. Many places in the inner ring of counties adjacent to New York City have become magnets for immigrants, much like New York Citys neighborhoods. The inner ring of counties surrounding New York City is now more than 20 percent foreign born and is experiencing growth related to immigration like that which occurred in New York City two decades ago.

According to DCPs report, as of 2000, the largest foreign-born groups were Dominicans, Chinese and Jamaicans. Queens, home to more than one million foreign born, remains the borough with the largest number and share of immigrants, followed by Brooklyn. Together, Queens and Brooklyn account for over two-thirds of the citys immigrant population although they comprise 59 percent of the citys population.

The Newest New Yorkers also notes that

  • More than 100,000 immigrants arrived in New York on average each year between 1990-2000, as compared to 86,000 annually in the 1980s.

  • New York City maintains its status as a preeminent global city, with greater diversity in its foreign born population than any other major U.S. city.

  • The growth in the city’s population in the 1990’s, from 7.3 million to over 8 million, was a function of the dramatic increase in its foreign-born residents.

  • The influx of large immigrant families has helped offset the historic outflow of New Yorkers to other parts of the nation, preventing a population decline.

  • The city’s demographic future will be shaped by today’s immigration patterns: immigrants and their US-born offspring account for approximately 55 percent of the city’s population, and they have made their homes in neighborhoods throughout the city.

  • Immigrants tend to be disproportionately between the ages of 18 and 64: In 2000, 79 percent of the foreign-born were in this age group, compared to just 56% of the native-born.

  • New Yorkers under 18 years of age are increasingly Hispanic (34 percent), Black non-Hispanic (29 percent) and Asian (10 percent), White non-Hispanics comprise under one-quarter of this age group.

  • Immigrants comprised 43 percent of the city’s labor force in 2000, although they represented 36 percent of the total population. Immigrants are over-represented in manufacturing, construction, and in many service industries such as food, health, social services as well in wholesale and retail trade.

  • More immigrants arrived as immediate relatives of US citizens, on diversity visas and as refugees. In addition, the percentage of immigrants seeking entry on employment preference visas, many of whom arrive with higher skills, increased.

  • Immigrant households comprise nearly half of recently occupied housing, between 1990 and 2002 and they have played a vital role in stabilizing and strengthening the housing stock in once declining neighborhoods. Moreover, the growth in immigration has coincided with a huge increase in permits for new housing, which have quadrupled over the last decade.

  • The foreign-born population has not only reinvigorated the economy, but also through its diversity brought a wealth of culture to the city. Traditional immigrant neighborhoods, such as Chinatown, Astoria in Queens and Belmont in The Bronx have attracted tourists and locals to their restaurants and shops for years.

  • While many city neighborhoods have maintained their immigrant presence, there are new areas of the city where the proportion of immigrants has grown over the past decade, especially in southern Brooklyn.

  • More than half the city’s residents speak a language other than English at home, and approximately one in four city residents have difficulty with English.

The Newest New Yorkers is based heavily on data from the US Census Bureau, whose Director recently acknowledged that New York’s population continues to grow. In response to a challenge by the city, the Census Bureau accepted a revised population estimate developed by DCP’s Population Division based on certificates of occupancy, increasing the official population estimate for New York City to 8,115,000 persons as of July 2003. The increase in population and housing activity are significant in that they occurred notwithstanding the events of September 11 and the economic downturn that followed, demonstrating confidence in the city’s future. The higher population estimate also results in more per capita funding for New York from the federal government. In addition, based on a surge in housing permits, DCP projects that if current trends continue, the city will continue to grow, to approximately 8.4 million in 2010.

The announcement of the Newest New Yorkers report took place at the Flushing Public Library in Queens,. The Queens Borough Public Library’s New Americans Program coordinates multilingual informational and cultural programs to assist new immigrants in Queens with adapting to life in the United States. The New Americans Program was established in 1977.

To read an illustrated summary of the report or order a copy, visit the DCP web site at A full text version of the report with black and white charts will also be available for sale at the City Planning Bookstore, 22 Reade Street.

City Planning
The Department of City Planning is responsible for the City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including land use and environmental review; preparation of plans and policies; and provision of technical assistance and planning information to government agencies, public officials, and community boards.

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