‘We have a bit of a trend’: City Hall announces that New York is gaining people

Flushing, Queens. (D.aniela via Flickr)
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"We are going to have a problem with mass transit," declared Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday, during a press conference in City Hall.

The subject wasn't actually transit. Bloomberg was referring to the fact that the city’s population hit an all-time high of 8,336,697, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau numbers, and for the first time in 60 years, more people are coming to New York City than leaving, thanks largely to immigration.

"Immigration since the census in 2010 is net-in 150,000,” said Joseph Salvo, the city’s chief demographer, during a press conference today at City Hall. “Think about that—150,000 people net have come in from the rest of the world in just around two years, 27 months, ok? I mean that's, that's tremendous."

A reporter asked if these migration and immigration numbers represented a spike or a trend.

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"Oh, there's the magic question," said Salvo. "Well, let me say this. There are enough years of data now to say that we have a bit of a trend."

In 2010, the city’s Asian population surpassed 1 million for the first time ever.

The largest component of the Asian population is Chinese, followed by Indians. The Bangladeshi population, meanwhile, is growing dramatically, thanks both to immigration and a high birth rate.

"We know that...the Asian population's increased over the last decade by 30 percent, that the Hispanic population's up about 8 percent,” said Salvo. “And remember, when you're on a base of 2.2 or 2.3 million people and you add 8 percent, that's a lot of people.”

From a national migration standpoint, New York remains a net exporter.

In Salvo's words: "We still send more people out to the rest of the country than we take in."

But the number of New Yorkers ditching the city for othe parts of the country is decreasing. And the number of Americans moving to town is holding steady.

“Brooklyn has roughly 69,000 more residents than it did just two years ago,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, adding, "That won't come as much news to the riders of the L subway line.”

Put another way, Brooklyn's population has grown by 2.4 percent since 2010, according to the latest census data.

Manhattan's has grown by 2.1 percent, Queens by 1.9, the Bronx by 1.7, and Staten Island by .4.

"Staten Island in the last two decades has been one of the fastest growing counties in the state, and you reach a point where you just can't keep growing at that same [rate]," said Salvo.

In total, the city’s population has grown by more than 161,000 people since 2010.

All of this assumes the census numbers are correct, even though they're "probably overstated" a bit, according to the city's planning department.

In 2010, the city challenged the federal census numbers, arguing that the census bureau had undercounted populations in Brooklyn and Queens. 

"We have not changed our outlook on that,” said Bloomberg today. “But whether what we're seeing now is simply a more accurate count than we received two years ago or just an increase in the past two years, or more likely a combination of both, it is great news for the city."