Population - Decennial Census - Census 2000

2000 Census Summary

Change in Total Population, 1990 and 2000
New York City and Boroughs
Geographic Area Total Population Population Change
  1990 2000 1990 to 2000
City and Borough Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
New York City 7,322,564 100.0 8,008,278 100.0 685,714 9.4
    Bronx 1,203,789 16.4 1,332,650 16.6 128,861 10.7
    Brooklyn 2,300,664 31.4 2,465,326 30.8 164,662 7.2
    Manhattan 1,487,536 20.3 1,537,195 19.2 49,659 3.3
    Queens 1,951,598 26.7 2,229,379 27.8 277,781 14.2
    Staten Island 378,977 5.2 443,728 5.5 64,751 17.1

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of New York City as of April 1, 2000, was 8,008,278, the largest enumerated census population in the city's history. The previous peak was in 1970, when the enumerated population stood at 7,894,862.

Between 1990 and 2000, the city's enumerated population grew by 685,714 persons or 9.4 percent over the 1990 count of 7,322,564. This increase is a result of both a real increase in the city's population as well as improved census coverage compared to 1990. While the population enumerated in 1990 was 7,322,564, city planners using estimates of undercounts from the Census Bureau estimated the actual population at that time to be in the range of 7.57 million. Thus, a more realistic picture of actual growth over the decade is approximately 440,000 persons or around 6 percent.

Immigration played a crucial role in the population increase over the decade, with nearly 1.2 million immigrants admitted to New York City in the 1990s. This high level of immigration has, to a large extent, countered a substantial net outflow of residents to other parts of the nation. At the same time, a high level of births in the 1990s and fewer deaths, added substantial numbers to the population. With more than 1.266 million births and 682,000 deaths, the level of natural increase totaled 584,000. The increasing share of immigrants in the city, who tend to be younger on average than other residents, is largely responsible for the high level of natural increase.

The record population count in 2000 is also the result of an unprecedented partnership with the Census Bureau, where the City of New York provided the Census Bureau with a list of 370,000 addresses that were missing from their address list, which was to be used to mail census questionnaires and follow-up on non-responding households. As a result, most of these households, who would otherwise have not received a questionnaire or field follow-up (and who may have been missed in 1990) were included in the census enumeration. Net undercount (the difference between persons missed and erroneous enumeration) was close to zero in 2000 (see discussion below).

Staten Island grew by 64,751 people in the 1990s, reaching 443,728 in 2000. This represents a growth rate of 17.1 percent, higher than any other borough. Queens exceeded the 2 million mark for the first time in a census, with a population of 2,229,379 in 2000, a growth of 14.2 percent over 1990. The absolute increase in Queens (277,781) accounted for 40 percent of the growth in the city. The Bronx increased by a higher-than-city average of 10.7 percent over the decade, reaching 1,332,650 in 2000, while Manhattan's population stood at 1,537,195 in 2000, an increase of 3.3 percent. Brooklyn saw its population climb to 2,465,326 in 2000, and increase of 164,662 over 1990, or 7.2 percent. The increase in Brooklyn's population accounted for nearly one-quarter of the growth in the city.

In 2000, Brooklyn remained the largest borough, accounting for 30.8 percent of the city's population, followed by Queens (27.8 percent), Manhattan (19.2 percent), the Bronx (16.6 percent), and Staten Island (5.5 percent). Between 1970, the prior peak in the City's population, and 2000, there has been a shift in the population from the Bronx and Brooklyn, to Queens and Staten Island. The population of Manhattan has been essentially unchanged during this period.

Changes in Racial Classification in 2000

In 1990, respondents had to choose from one of five racial designations: white; black; American Indian, Eskimo or Aleut; Asian or Pacific Islander; and Other race. In addition, respondents were asked whether or not they were of Hispanic origin. In our 1990 tabulations, we listed six mutually exclusive race/Hispanic groups: five race categories tabulated only for nonhispanics, and a sixth category for all Hispanics.

In 2000, to acknowledge the increasing number of Americans with more than one race, census respondents were permitted to check more than one race. Asians and Pacific Islanders were each listed separately, and respondents could check one or more of the following six race categories: white; black; American Indian and Alaska native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; and Some other race. The various race combinations yield a total of 63 race categories. Respondents were also asked if they were of Hispanic origin.

Thus in 2000, there are 64 mutually exclusive race/Hispanic categories available: 63 race categories tabulated only for nonhispanics, and a 64th category for all Hispanics. This poses a dilemma for those attempting to keep 2000 Census tabulations manageable. It also complicates attempts to evaluate change in racial/Hispanic composition of areas in the 1990-2000 period. Given that these data will be used for a variety of purposes, our approach provides both simplicity and flexibility to users. The categories for Table PL-1A show data for seven major mutually exclusive single race/Hispanic groups, plus a separate category for nonhispanic persons of two or more races. To assist persons who wish to recode categories for specific applications, Table PL-2A is presented, with details on the composition of nonhispanics of two or more races.

Racial/Hispanic Profile in 2000

Comparison of Population by Race and Hispanic Origin New York City, 1990-2000

The city was even more racially and ethnically diverse in 2000. Among those of a single race, white nonhispanics remained the largest group, accounting for 35 percent (2.80 million) of the city's population, while for the first time in a census, Hispanics were the largest minority group, with a 27 percent share (2.16 million). Among others of a single race, black nonhispanics comprised 24.5 percent (1.96 million), and nearly 1-in-10 New Yorkers (783,000) was Asian and Pacific Islander nonhispanic. Those with a multiracial nonhispanic background accounted for 2.8 percent (225,000) of the population.

While the definition of Hispanic was consistent in 1990 and 2000, racial categories are not strictly comparable given the new multiracial designation in 2000. We thus use a high and low estimate while presenting change in a group's population between 1990 and 2000. The low estimate for black nonhispanics for example, compares black nonhispanics in 1990 with nonhispanics in 2000 who only checked off black. The high estimate compares black nonhispanics in 1990 with nonhispanics who checked off only black (single race) or checked off black in addition to any other race (multiracial).

The numerical and percentage growth of the various race/Hispanic groups between 1990 and 2000 was as follows:

  • Black nonhispanic: an increase of 115,105 to 195,262, or between 6.2 and 10.6 percent
  • Asian and Pacific Islanders nonhispanic: an increase of 293,207 to 370,160, or between 59.9 and 75.6 percent
  • Hispanic (unchanged definition in 1990 and 2000): an increase of 377,043 or 21.1 percent
  • White nonhispanic: decline between 257,750 to 361,858, or -8.1 to -11.4 percent

For more information on high and low estimates for nonhispanic race groups, please see www.census.gov.

Given the changes in race categories, it is difficult to precisely assess how the race/Hispanic composition of an area changed between 1990 and 2000. It is important to recognize that no algorithm will ever provide us with the data necessary to make an accurate comparison between the race/Hispanic categories of the city in 1990 and 2000. In an attempt to help those who need to make an evaluation of race/Hispanic change, however, Table PL-3A presents a set of categories for 1990 and 2000 that can be used to look at racial/Hispanic change in very broad terms. This scheme includes the multiracial group in 2000 as an additional additive category, a "slice of the race/Hispanic pie" that is being newly acknowledged for 2000. As such, changes between 1990 and 2000 in any of the single race categories should be interpreted carefully, taking into account the multi-racial category in 2000.