Everybody wants to be in Brooklyn. Which, sure. We already knew that. I mean, Brooklyn is so hot right now that hipsters even want to live in Bay Ridge. Bay Ridge! And with the release last week of state census data, Brooklyn's popularity became undeniable. Based on some major number-crunching, the Daily News reports that Brooklyn not only got the largest absolute population boost in the "period spanning April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012", but also that the almost "60,000 new Brooklynites [who] moved in during that time - nearly double[d] Manhattan’s paltry count of 33,217 arrivals." In fact, Brooklyn's population is increasing so rapidly that its size is approaching that of Chicago's. So that fun fact that we all know about how, if counted on its own, Brooklyn would be the 4th-largest city in America? Well, soon it will be the 3rd largest city in America. That's really large!
But so where did all these Brooklyn newbies settle down? And who are these recent arrivals? Will we like them? Will they like us? So much pressure. Neighborhoods can change here in the span of a couple of years, so what does this population influx mean for the places that are most affected? Let's try and guess! Based on numbers. Numbers reveal everything.
East New York
East New York's population rose 10.4% between 2000 and 2010 and the News reports that the new arrivals in the neighborhood consist mainly of "Bangladeshis, Chinese, and Ecuadorians [who] are moving into Kings County’s eastern and southern area such as East New York, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst." Now, anyone who has ever spent any time in East New York, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst knows, those three neighborhoods are not exactly what you'd call identical to each other. Each of them has distinct population demographics that will be changing dramatically with the addition of the variety of nationalities that have been arriving. East New York has had a majority African-American population for the last few decades, but, since the census also shows that African-Americans, as a group, are leaving New York City and relocating to "places such as Atlanta and other southern cities" it remains to be seen what East New York will be like in the next decade if current trends continue.
The southern part of Bushwick had a population increase of 11.6%. This population increase is probably not surprising on an anecdotal level, because it certainly seems like everyone lives in Bushwick these days. But anecdotal evidence is nothing in the face of cold, hard facts. And the numbers don't lie. Everyone lives in Bushwick these days.
DUMBO/Vinegar Hill/Boerum Hill
These three neighborhoods enjoyed an increase of 11.8% in the last decade and, as someone who works in DUMBO, this makes perfect sense. DUMBO in particular has seen a huge influx of jobs and residents (although the lunch options certainly haven't kept pace) and is, along with Boerum Hill, the most expensive place to live in Brooklyn. So, that's something. Basically, what this population boom means is that rich people got richer in the last decade and moved to Brooklyn. Which, yeah. We kind of already knew that.
The second biggest population growth happened in the southern part of Williamsburg, which boasted an increase of 14.1%. Who were all these new arrivals? Babies! That's right. The Brooklyn baby boom is not limited to Park Slope or Carroll Gardens, not at all. In fact, much of Brooklyn's population increase is due to the rapidly expanding families of the borough's Orthodox Jewish population, many of whom live in South Williamsburg. So, while this area has seen a dramatic population increase, it has remained demographically stable, unlike our number one neighborhood for population growth...
Yes, Bed-Stuy is the Brooklyn neighborhood with the most dramatic population increase—19.4%! But what is perhaps more notable than just the increase in absolute numbers is the huge demographic shift. The News reports that "the white population grew six fold while the number of blacks dropped by 14. 6 %," making the northwestern part of Bed-Stuy "majority white" according to Henry Butler, head of Community Board 3. The News lists all the usual reasons for people flocking to Bed-Stuy like "less expensive rent and subway access" without mentioning anything about the pre-existing, positive features of the neighborhood, but that's how it goes, I guess.
There was nothing in the News about the hipsters invasion of Bay Ridge, but that's why you come to Brooklyn Magazine—to get the full story of Brooklyn population shifts. So, suck it, News.
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