Some thoughts on Census 2010 Population Changes

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I was eager to get into the 2010 Census data at the tract level, but am a bit disappointed that the new American Fact Finder website has been down since Friday. Instead, I was able to download a limited amount of new data from the Department of City Planning website and look at the most basic of statistics, namely population change since 2010 (though the Mayor is officially challenging them).

The map below (click on the image to enlarge) shows changes in population by census tract since 2000 for NYC, not as a percent but by the actual number of counted residents. Much of the city shows in light yellow meaning the population stayed mostly the same (up or down by less than 150 residents). The reddish areas show decreases in population while the greenish areas show increases, with the intensity of the color matching the larger decline/increase.

While I can't back this up with the actual data until the AFF site gets back up and running, it will be interesting to see how strong the effects of gentrification in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Astoria were on the large drops in population there. Was the replacing of larger families with children with young single folks and smaller families a big factor in driving down the population in those neighborhoods?

Also, there are smaller but noticeable drops in parts of Brooklyn and Queens (and even a few tracts in Wakefield) where there have been large numbers of foreclosures. There could be some kind of correlation.

I've also been reminded of an older post of mine on how more people move out of NYC annually than move in, and that the growth in population has been spurred on by international immigrant and more significantly, a high birth rate.

A few other news sites have also brought up some of these questions:

In this article on, Queens College demographer Andrew Beveridge agrees that the cost of housing has had an impact on the drop in population in upper Manhattan, but also thinks an there was likely an undercount of undocumented immigrants.

WNYC investigates the first documented drop in the City's black population, mostly in Brooklyn.

AMNewYork believes that residents, especially in Queens, are partly to blame for not returning their forms.