You probably hear generalizations all the time about the demographics of Queens, especially when it comes to diversity, immigration, and neighborhood trends. If you want the facts, we’ve summarized them here to satisfy your curiosity.
First, the basics: Queens is estimated to have 2.2 million people, or about 27% of New York City’s 8.2 million residents. It is the largest borough in terms of geographical area, but the second most populous borough after Brooklyn, which has 2.5 million people.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the population of Queens is 50% white, 28% Hispanic, 24% Asian, 21% black, and 3% mixed race. Almost half (48%) of Queens residents are foreign born, and 56% speak a language other than English at home. Some of the largest ethnic groups are Chinese (9%), West Indian (7%), Italian (7%), Indian (5%), and Irish (5%).
According to the New York Times, the most diverse census tract in the entire city is in Queens Village, home to at least 100 people from each of nine major groups. But the least diverse tract of NYC is also in Queens: Breezy Point, made up of 95% native whites.
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Queens is also mixed when it comes to economics and education: 13% of Queens is living below the poverty level, and the median household income is just over $55,000. Of all adults aged 25 and older in the borough, 28% have a high school diploma as their highest level of educational attainment, and 10% have a graduate or professional degree; 11% of the adult population has less than a 9th grade education.
In terms of living arrangements, Queens households are 68% families, 29% families with children, 26% people living alone, and 7% non-family groups (i.e., roommate situations). The average household size is 2.8 people and the average family size is 3.4. Rentals make up 57% of housing units, while 43% of units are owner-occupied.
What’s changing? According to the 2010 census, Queens only grew by 1,343 people since the year 2000, representing the lowest population increase of all five boroughs. But this fact is contested – city officials think that the population was undercounted in many areas, including Astoria.
From 2000 to 2010, Queens saw changes in its overall racial makeup. The white population decreased by about 116,000 people and the black population decreased by 27,000; meanwhile, the Asian population increased by 119,000 and the Latino population increased by 57,000.
The decline in white populations was particularly notable in neighborhoods along the Nassau County border, such as Douglaston, Little Neck, Glen Oaks, and Bellerose. Those neighborhoods have, in turn, seen an increase in Asian populations; Bellerose is now home to the census tract with the largest number of Indian immigrants in the city.
Asian populations also grew substantially in Flushing and the neighborhoods adjacent to Flushing, such as Queensboro Hill. The tract with the highest number of Korean immigrants in NYC is in Fresh Meadows. South Asian populations have increased in Briarwood, Richmond Hill, and Jamaica Hills.
The decline in black populations has been apparent in South Jamaica, Baisley Park (in Jamaica), and East Elmhurst. And the Latino population has increased in many neighborhoods, including Corona, North Corona, East Elmhurst, and South Jamaica.
What kinds of shifts in demographics have you noticed in your neighborhood?