Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Out-of-state migrants are skipping the outer boroughs and heading straight to Manhattan.
The great minds at WYNC's Data News team are at it again.
They've mapped New York City's migration data from the American Community Survey, showing which of New York's census tracts have been popular with out-of-towners over the last five years. A toggle switch allows you to switch between those arriving from other states and those from other countries.
Below, "The New New Yorkers":
So, what have we here? First, a disclaimer: the margin of error of this data is extremely high, because the ACS extrapolates conclusions from a limited polling size. So it's probably not a great source for serious study -- particularly within individual tracts. That said, the overall picture ought to be more accurate than not.
Second, the out-of-state population. Their percentages are highest -- by far -- in Manhattan, indicating a certain level of income. Not surprisingly, there are clusters around NYU, Columbia and the New School, as well as in hot spots for the young and highly paid -- the Financial District, the East Village, and Murray Hill. In the area immediately below Union Square, one of five residents is a new New Yorker (that statistic is well beyond the margin of error). Midtown, particularly on the West Side, is also brimming with imports, although many of these districts are sparsely populated.
But new New Yorkers aren't everywhere. Corlear's Hook, between the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, has almost no out-of-state population. No doubt a large swath of public housing contributes to that statistic, but Chinatown, too, seems unattractive to incoming Americans.
On the other end of the island, while New Yorkers from other states clearly have significant money to spend on rent, they still haven't breached certain precincts of the Upper East Side -- the area bounded by 5th Avenue and Park Avenue between 70th and 77th Streets is only 0.6 percent out-of-state.
Outside of Manhattan, percentages drop sharply. Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn each show a significant influx, but in most of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, out-of-staters represent less than four percent of the population. (Note that the scattered red districts -- at both ends of the Verrazano, and in parts of Queens and the Bronx -- tend to have much smaller populations than most of the other precincts, and may represent statistical anomalies. We'd be interested to know if that square-root patch of Brownsville really is 13 percent out-of-state, and if so, why.)
I found two things striking about switching to the map of New Yorkers arriving from abroad. First, it looks like a watered-down version of the same data. Again, lower Manhattan -- and Midtown in particular -- glows strongly. But in Manhattan, these aren't your old immigrant enclaves. The area once known as Little Italy has scarcely over one percent its population coming from abroad -- lower SoHo has seven times that percentage.
And, it should be noted, while the percentages may be high in Manhattan, the numbers of new arrivals are similar in Queens. Shown not in percentage but in sheer numbers, the larger precincts of Flushing, Bayside and other areas of the city's most diverse borough would rival Manhattan's. Deep Brooklyn has a similar ring of foreign arrivals, in Sunset Park, Bensonhurst, and Sheepshead Bay.
But the most amazing thing of all is that in a city renowned for its high immigrant population, there is not a single tract of any size where more than 15 percent of the population comes from abroad. The times they are a-changin'.
Image and map courtesy of WNYC.