|Home > Regional Outreach > The Region|
New York City
Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island
After growing at a near-record pace in the late-1990s—led by a boom on Wall Street, rapid growth in a variety of service industries, and a strong influx of immigrants—New York City's economy slipped into a recession in early 2001. This downturn was exacerbated by the 2001 terrorist attack and a particularly sharp contraction in the city’s key financial sector. After bottoming out in mid-2003, employment expanded gradually in 2004 and then grew at a brisk pace from 2005 through mid-2007.
Manhattan (New York County)As of 2005, Manhattan is home to an estimated 1.61 million people, or nearly a fifth of the city's 8 million residents, but accounts for 2.4 million jobs, or two-thirds of city employment. With nearly 67,000 residents per square mile, Manhattan is the most densely populated county in the United States. During the 1990s, its population grew by 3.3 percent—substantially less rapidly than the other four boroughs and below the statewide average. Manhattan has an above-average representation of minority groups: 17 percent of residents are black (compared with 12 percent nationally), 27 percent are Hispanic (also 12 percent nationally) and 9 percent are Asian (versus 4 percent for the United States).
More than 85 percent of working residents commuted within Manhattan in 2000, according to the latest Census, and about half of the remaining 15 percent worked in the outer boroughs. As noted earlier, Manhattan's industry base is dominated by services—or more aptly termed, "information" industries—especially financial services, which accounts for roughly 17 percent of private-sector jobs and close to 40 percent of earnings. It is also a major center of a variety of service industries, such as publishing, communications (media), advertising and legal services. Manufacturing represents a small and dwindling sector, accounting for just 2 percent of private-sector jobs and less than 1.5 percent of earnings. However, the city still retains a relatively large apparel (garment) industry, where the share of employment and earnings are both well above the national average.
In 2005, Manhattan's median household income was estimated at roughly $56,000—moderately above the national and New York State averages and relatively high for an urban center. (Also, average household size is quite low in Manhattan, so per capita income is actually quite a bit above the national average.) In terms of educational attainment, an extraordinary 57 percent of adults 25 or over held a college degree in 2005, more than double the national average and up sharply from 49 percent in 2000. At the other end of the spectrum, 15 percent of adults 25 or over did not complete high school, which is on par with the state and national averages.
More than 85 percent of working residents commute within Manhattan, according to the 2000 Census, and about half of the remaining 15 percent work in the outer boroughs. As noted earlier, Manhattan's industry base is dominated by services—or more aptly termed, "information" industries—especially financial services, which accounts for roughly 17 percent of private-sector jobs and close to 40 percent of earnings. It is also a major center of a variety of service industries, such as publishing, communications (media), advertising and legal services. Manufacturing is not much of a force, accounting for just 3.5 percent of jobs and less than 2 percent of earnings. However, the city still retains a fairly large apparel (garment) industry, where the share of employment and earnings are both well above the national average.
The "Outer Boroughs"New York City's "outer boroughs"—Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island—are home to nearly 6.5 million residents and an estimated 1.2 million jobs. Based on commuting patterns—30 percent to 40 percent of working residents commute to Manhattan—these boroughs are typically thought of as bedroom communities. Despite the geographical proximity to the major employment hub, residents of each of these four boroughs experience longer commute times, on average, than residents of any other county in the United States. Nevertheless, all four have some industry base, with areas of specialization described in the respective boroughs' sections below. In fact, as many residents of Nassau and Suffolk Counties work in Queens and Brooklyn as in Manhattan. Another notable aspect of the “outer boroughs” is an exceptionally high concentration of foreign-born residents, which accounted for 39 percent of the population in 2005, compared with 12 percent nationally.
Brooklyn (Kings County)
Brooklyn is the most populous of the five boroughs—home
to an estimated 2.5 million people in 2005. With nearly
35,000 residents per square mile, it is the second most
densely populated borough (after Manhattan), and likewise,
the second densest county in the United States. If the
five boroughs were separate cities, Brooklyn would be
the nation's third most populous. During the 1990s,
its population grew by 7.2 percent—a bit less rapidly
than the city as a whole but above the statewide average.
Queens is the second most populous of the five boroughs,
with 2.2 million residents. It is only slightly behind
Brooklyn in terms of population, but it is much less
densely populated, with roughly 20,000 people per square
mile. During the 1990s, its population surged by 14.2
percent, making it the second fastest growing county
in the state. Queens has an unusual demographic profile,
even by New York's standards. Blacks account for 20
percent of the population-higher than the U.S. average,
but low for a major urban area. On the other hand, a
striking 18 percent of residents are Asian—triple the
national and statewide averages—and 25 percent are Hispanic.
As of 2005, 47 percent of Queens residents were foreign-born,
which is the second highest proportion of any county
in the United States.
BronxThe Bronx is the second least populous of the five boroughs, with 1.3 million residents. It is only slightly smaller than Manhattan in terms of population, and only a little more than half as populous as Brooklyn or Queens. Its population density is comparable to Brooklyn's, though. During the 1990s, its population grew by an impressive 10.3 percent, its strongest growth since the 1920s. In contrast, during the 1970s, its population fell by more than 20 percent.
Hispanics account for a remarkable 48 percent of the borough's population—the highest concentration of any county in the northeastern United States. Blacks account for 35 percent of the population—comparable to Brooklyn but a larger proportion than the other boroughs.
Less than 20 percent of residents own their homes—one of the lowest homeownership rates in the country—and a large majority of residents (90 percent) live in multi-family structures. In general, single-family and owner-occupied units are concentrated in the northern (Riverdale, Eastchester) and southeastern (Throgs Neck) parts of the borough, while the southern, western and central parts of the borough predominantly consist of multi-family rentals. The notable exception is Co-Op City, on the eastern edge of the Bronx, which is dominated by large apartment buildings.
In 2005, the Bronx had a median household income of just $29,000—the lowest of any borough and well below the statewide and national averages. In terms of educational attainment, only 16 percent of adults 25 or over hold college degrees, again well below the U.S. average, but up from 15 percent in the 2000 Census and 12 percent in 1990.
Health care is by far the dominant industry, accounting for roughly 37 percent of private-sector employment and 40 percent of earnings. In 2000, an estimated 40 percent of its work force commuted to jobs in Manhattan—slightly higher than for the other boroughs.
Staten Island (Richmond County)
Staten Island is, by far, the least populous of the
five boroughs, with just 455,000 [444,000] residents,
but also the most affluent. It is much less densely
populated than the others, with just 7,588 residents
per square mile. During the 1990s, its population surged
by 17.1 percent, making it the fastest growing county
in the state.