New York City Immigration, by the Numbers

A few recent reports by the New York City Dept. of Planning give a glimpse of the "churn" of both domestic and immigrant populations in New York City.  

In 2000, 36% of the population of New York City was foreign-born, while nationwide only 11% were foreign-born.  The top sources of immigration in New York were the Dominican Republic and China, versus Mexico for the rest of the United States (although the number of Mexicans in New York City nearly tripled between 1990 and 2000). Also, there are far more immigrants from the Caribbean and Europe in New York than in the rest of the country.

A few other characteristics of note: foreign-born New Yorkers were more likely to be married than native-born (48% vs. 31%), had a much higher fertility rate (over half of all births in NYC), and were slightly more likely to be employed (66% vs 62%). They also had a far lower household income, a greater chance of living in overcrowded conditions, and nearly 50% were not proficient in English.

Over the past few decades, millions of native-born New Yorkers have moved out of New York City, while millions of international immigrants have moved into the city.  The former trend has slowed, while the latter has accelerated, which accounts for New York's shrinking population in the 1970's but growing population in the 1990's.  Moreover, the same trends are starting to affect some of the surrounding counties, mostly in New Jersey, which now have more direct international immigration.

According to the report The Newest New Yorkers 2000, "The post-1965 flow of immigrants to New York mitigated catastrophic population losses in the 1970s, stabilized the city's population in the 1980s, helped the city reach a new population peak in 2000, and continues to play a crucial role in the city's population growth."  It is clear that New York City's workforce has been fed by young people from the rest of the United States and abroad, and that in turn New York has offered them many work and economic opportunities.

Similar demographic shifts are happening in global cities worldwide, and these will have enormous implications for how we serve and reach our cities.


These statistics were taken from the NYC Dept of Planning's reports "The Newest New Yorkers 2000" and "Population: Short-Term Events and Long-Term Patterns."