New York City’s Population Barely Rose in the Last Decade, the Census Finds

March 25, 2011

By SAM ROBERTS, The New York Times

New York City’s population reached a record high for a 10-year census of 8,175,133, according to the 2010 count released on Thursday, but fell far short of the official forecast.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg immediately challenged the bureau’s finding, saying it shortchanged the city by as many as 225,000 people. He said it was “inconceivable” that Queens grew by only 1,343 people since 2000 and suggested that the profusion of apartments listed as vacant in places like Flushing and in a swath of southwest Brooklyn meant the census missed many hard-to-count immigrants.

The 2010 census did, however, confirm previous findings of housing segregation and benchmarks telegraphed earlier by the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey:

¶For the first time since the draft riots during the Civil War, the number of black New Yorkers has declined, by 5 percent since 2000. Non-Hispanic blacks now account for 23 percent of New Yorkers.

¶The number of Asians increased 32 percent, passing the one million mark. They now constitute 13 percent of the population.

¶The Hispanic population rose 8 percent and now makes up 29 percent of the total.

¶Non-Hispanic whites registered a 3 percent decline, or 31,649 (compared with a drop of nearly 362,000 in the 1990s) — the smallest decrease in a half-century of white flight. They now constitute 33 percent of the population. Manhattan and Brooklyn accounted for the only counties in the country with a million or more people where the white share of the population rose.

¶The Bronx gained 52,000 people, second only to Suffolk among the state’s counties.

City officials said Thursday that they had not decided whether to pursue a legal challenge to the census’s findings as they did, unsuccessfully, in 1990.

If the 2010 official count is sustained, it would suggest that the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, coupled with the impact of the nationwide economic collapse during the second half of the decade, produced much slower growth since 2000 than in the 1990s (a rate of 2.1 percent, compared with 9 percent) — even as the recession and housing crisis prompted more New Yorkers to remain in the city rather than retire elsewhere or move to usual job magnets in the South and West.

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