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Where New Yorkers Live

The information below includes preliminary data findings that will be updated throughout the Where We Live NYC process and do not represent the City of New York’s final findings or position on the information.

Living Patterns by Race and Ethnicity1

New York City is by far the most populous city in the United States. According to the 2012-2016 American Community Survey (ACS), New York City’s population is approximately 8.4 million people, and its region2 has a population of approximately 22.7 million people. For purposes of our fair housing analysis, the population of New York City is categorized into four major racial and ethnic groups: Hispanic of any race, and non-Hispanic people in Asian/Pacific Islander (PI), Black, or White racial groups3. According to the 2012-2016 ACS, New York City’s population was 32% White, 29% Hispanic, 22% Black, and 14% Asian/PI, and the NYC Population by Race and Ethnicity map below shows how these groups are distributed by residence.

New York City has distinct patterns of residential concentration by race and ethnicity. Although a mix of racial groups live in some neighborhoods, each group predominates or is unevenly concentrated in many areas. Asian/PI New Yorkers are concentrated in the Lower East Side, south Brooklyn, and throughout Queens. Black New Yorkers cluster in Central Harlem, the north Bronx, central Brooklyn, and southeast Queens. The Hispanic population predominates in northern Manhattan, the Bronx, Elmhurst/Corona area, north and east Brooklyn, and parts of Staten Island. White New Yorkers predominate in Lower and Upper Manhattan, Riverdale, Staten Island, much of southern Brooklyn, and parts of west Brooklyn.


Since 1990, the share of Asian/PI residents in New York City has doubled, while the share of White residents has declined significantly. The Historical Racial and Ethnic Composition of New York City table below shows New York City’s racial and ethnic composition between 1990 and 2012-16. While the Asian/PI and Hispanic populations have grown significantly in absolute numbers and in population share, the White population has declined both in absolute numbers and as a share of total population. In the same time period, the Black population has been stable in absolute numbers, while declining as a share of total population.

Historical Racial and Ethnic Composition of New York City4

Over the last three decades, it has become less likely that a single racial group will predominate in a neighborhood. The Race and Ethnicity Neighborhood Typology, 1990, 2000, and 2012-2016 maps below show an increase in the number of racially-mixed neighborhoods in New York City and a decline of majority White and majority non-White neighborhoods5. Between 1990 and 2012-2016, the number of predominantly White neighborhoods (White population above 75%) declined, particularly on Staten Island and in south Brooklyn, the east part of Manhattan, and western Queens. There was also a decline in the number of non-White neighborhoods, particularly non-White homogenous neighborhoods (single non-White population above 75%) in central Brooklyn and Central Harlem. Finally, the Race and Ethnicity Neighborhood Typology, 2000 and 2012-2016 maps display an increase in multi-racial neighborhoods with a White population between 25% and 50%, particularly in southern and Downtown Brooklyn and eastern Queens.

Based on stakeholder feedback, HPD is in the process of replacing these neighborhood typology maps with updated versions that assess the demographics of New York City in a way that reflects the diversity of our neighborhoods rather than using one group as a benchmark for comparison.




Although the racial composition of neighborhoods continues to evolve, the overall degree of concentration has been rather stable over time. The dissimilarity index measures the evenness of residential segregation and compares two racial groups at a time. It can be interpreted as the percentage of a smaller group’s population that would need to move to a different census tract in order for each census tract to have the same percentage of that group as its overall share in New York City. The dissimilarity index ranges from 0, which represents no segregation, to 100, which indicates a high level of segregation. The Dissimilarity Indexes, New York City table below shows that Asian/PI vs. White dissimilarity has increased slightly over time; Black vs. White and non-White vs. White dissimilarities have decreased slightly over time; and New York City’s overall dissimilarity indexes have been rather stable over time. The Isolation Indexes, New York City table below shows New York City’s isolation index, which measures the extent to which members of a group are exposed only to one another in their residential Census tract. This table demonstrates that the isolation of White and Black populations has declined, while the isolation of Asian/PI New Yorkers has increased6.

Dissimilarity Indexes, New York City7

Isolation Indexes, New York City8

Living Patterns by Socioeconomic Status and Race

Areas of high poverty show patterns of concentration. The Poverty Rate map below shows that high-poverty Census tracts (shaded dark on the map) are clustered in the South Bronx, northern Manhattan, northwest Brooklyn, Coney Island, Williamsburg, and Borough Park. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty (R/ECAPs) as having a majority non-White population (50% or more) and a poverty rate at or above 40%. However, the next section examines the racial and ethnic composition of all high-poverty areas (≥40%) in New York City, regardless of whether an area is predominantly non-White, as this approach is more reflective of the entire city.


Black and Hispanic New Yorkers are overrepresented in areas of high poverty as compared to their overall shares in New York City. The Racial and Ethnic Composition of High Poverty Areas map below shows the racial and ethnic composition of Census tracts where more than 40% of residents live in poverty, the level used by HUD to designate high-poverty areas. Many of these areas are located in the South Bronx, in which Hispanic and Black populations are concentrated. Similarly, there is a cluster of high-poverty, majority-Black Census tracts in eastern Brooklyn, while high-poverty White areas are concentrated in Borough Park and Williamsburg, and high-poverty Asian/Pl areas are concentrated in Sunset Park.


White New Yorkers are the only racial group that is overrepresented in low-poverty areas as compared to their overall share in New York City. According to the Racial and Ethnic Composition of Low Poverty Areas map below, White New Yorkers predominate in low-poverty areas (where less than 10% of residents live in poverty) in Manhattan, Staten Island, west Brooklyn, and other areas. Other groups are concentrated in select low-poverty areas throughout New York City: Flatlands, southeast Queens, and the north Bronx are predominantly Black; parts of northeast Queens are predominantly Asian/Pl; and parts of southern Queens are majority but not predominantly Hispanic.


Government-assisted housing is concentrated, but not exclusively located, in high-poverty neighborhoods in New York City. The City-Assisted Housing map below shows the location of City-supported housing, and the HUD-Supported Place-Based Housing map below shows the location of HUD-supported place-based housing, which includes New York City Housing Authority developments. There is a high concentration of government-assisted housing in the South Bronx, Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen, Hudson Yards, the north shore of Staten Island, south part of East New York, Coney Island, and the Rockaways. All of these areas, except Hell’s Kitchen and Hudson Yards, tend to have high poverty rates and are predominantly Black and/or Hispanic. The HUD-Supported Vouchers map below shows that households with HUD-supported vouchers are concentrated in the Bronx, northern Manhattan, east and south Brooklyn, southeastern Queens and the North Shore of Staten Island.




Living Patterns by Other Protected Characteristics

Residential concentration is also apparent by nationality among New Yorkers born outside the U.S. and those with limited English proficiency. According to the Five Largest Foreign Nationality Groups by Place of Birth map below, which shows where immigrants from the five largest nationality groups lived in 2012-2016, each nationality group appears to cluster in separate neighborhoods; exceptions include neighborhoods such as Jackson Heights and Corona in Queens, where immigrants from multiple nationalities live. The Five Languages Most Spoken by People with LEP map below demonstrates a similar pattern for the five largest language groups spoken by New Yorkers with limited English proficiency.



New Yorkers with disabilities show patterns of concentration. The Disability Rate map below shows clustering of Census tracts with a high concentration of New Yorkers with disabilities in the Bronx, upper Manhattan, Lower East Side, parts of east Brooklyn, Coney Island, and the Rockaways. Many of these areas are high poverty, as illustrated on the Poverty Rate map above.


  1. This page uses data from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey, the latest five-year estimates available at the time of writing. All estimates are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. Estimates based on five-year estimates, such as 2012-2016 ACS data, may obscure considerable changes in neighborhood conditions occurring throughout that period of time. Many metrics in this report, including the dissimilarity index, are based on estimates at the tract level in order to be consistent with methodologies employed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HPD is exploring alternative methods for similar analyses in the final report.
  2. “Region” is defined as New York City and 26 surrounding counties in portions or New York, north New Jersey, and southwest Connecticut.
  3. Unless otherwise specified, Asian/PI, Black, and White populations are considered non-Hispanic. Because the U.S. Census Bureau uses the term “Hispanic” in its population figures, the City will also use the term with regard to its population analyses. The City will use the term “Latinx” where relevant. Each of these categories also encompasses significant diversity and a range of national origins, which vary across the city’s neighborhoods. This diversity will be explored in the final report.
  4. Sources: 1) HPD calculations based on 1990, 2000, and 2010 data from IPUMS NHGIS, University of Minnesota, www.nhgis.org.;
    2) HPD calculations based on ACS 2012-2016, 5-year estimates, Table B03002.
  5. The neighborhood typology included in maps uses the White population as a reference category. Authors of similar analyses have used the White population as a reference category because White communities historically have employed exclusionary tactics more often than others, which have significantly impacted segregated and integrated living patterns. See Ellen, I.G. (2007), “How Integrated Did We Become During the 1990s?” in Fragile Rights Within Cities: Government, Housing, and Fairness, ed. Goering, J. (Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield), 123-142.
  6. The isolation index is sensitive to overall shares of population. Thus, changes in the isolation index over time can reflect, in part, changes in overall shares of population.
  7. Sources: 1) AFFH-T Data (AFFHT0004) – November 2017: Decennial Census, 2010; Brown Longitudinal Tract Database (LTDB) based on Decennial Census data, 1990, 2000, & 2010 Decennial Census data 2010; 2) HPD calculations based on ACS 2012-2016, 5-year estimates. Table B03002.
  8. Sources: 1) HPD calculations based on 1990, 2000, and 2010 data from IPUMS NHGIS, University of Minnesota, www.nhgis.org.;
    2) HPD calculations based on ACS 2012-2016, 5 year estimates, Table B03002.