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New York City Is Already At Its 2020 Population Forecast

NYC Skyline in 2023NYC Skyline in 2023, image by Voltage

The new Census estimates show New York City’s population swelling to 8,491,079 people, a 52,700-person increase from the 2013 estimates (which were also revised upwards, or the increase would have been an even larger 85,242 people). Those numbers are up from a 2010 Census baseline of 8,175,133 people.

But regardless of whether the 2010 number is correct, the latest estimates pose a problem for city planners, as the new 2014 number falls just under 60,000 people shy of the previous 2020 projection, of 8,550,971 people.

If the previous year’s increase of 52,700 people is matched in 2015 — and given construction permits, an even larger jump this year would not be surprising — New York’s population will pass the 2020 estimates within the year, if it has not already.

When looking for hope from a worsening housing crisis, there appears to be none. City planning is considering abolishing parking minimums beyond the cores of Manhattan below 96th Street, Downtown Brooklyn, and Long Island City, but only for affordable units — a nonsensical policy that should also apply to market-rate development, which makes up the vast bulk of new construction, and which has equally little need for parking.

Market-rate housing at affordable costs is a clear and viable solution to New York City’s crisis, and while it isn’t being built in Williamsburg or Gramercy, brand new two-bedroom apartments are available starting at $1,700 a month in the Bronx. Removing obstacles to construction in now-gentrifying neighborhoods can prevent the price spiral that has enveloped Manhattan and much of inner Brooklyn, as redundant community controls tend to choke off development once gentrification begins accelerating.

While large-scale injections of new supply would not result in immediate relief, opening the pipeline to substantially more development would at least stymie continued increases in rents over the long-term, as demand is satiated. Housing also filters down to lower income brackets as it ages, though this process is also dependent on time.

Meanwhile, New York City is growing far faster than anyone had planned for, although hopefully that will become a catalyst for removal of local politicians who have become calcified to the city like old barnacles. Instead of searching for solutions to the problem of skyrocketing housing costs, politicians are suggesting blatantly racist housing solutions, or asking to spend money on task forces relating to shadows in Central Park, an issue that was settled with the construction of the Plaza Hotel back in 1907 (a structure whose net sum of shadow over Park is far greater than the combined addition of all the super-slender 57th Street towers).

If the latest Census estimate is indeed accurate, New York City is probably over 8.5 million people as of today. With the urban renaissance now in full swing across wide swaths of the city, development pressure will continue to skyrocket. And if 2010-2014’s rate of increase is replicated through 2020, the city will pass the previous 2030 population estimate as early as 2019, reaching approximately 8.85 million people.

That number is over 300,000 people higher than the city’s current 2020 forecast, yet even today New Yorkers must endure an overburdened infrastructure mismanaged by the bloated Port Authority and the completely non-transparent MTA. When asked how much the Second Avenue Subway would cost, current MTA head Tom Prendergast once told Capital New York “A billion is a thousand million, and a trillion is a thousand billions.”

The people of New York City are its greatest asset, but those occupying local and city leadership positions are its greatest liability (though a few bright spots exist in figures like Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and we also hold hopes for De Blasio and an even more aggressive housing plan). With the latest Census estimates showing the city growing by 315,946 people in only four years, the housing crisis and the city’s overburdened infrastructure are only going to keep getting worse — unless there is rapid and exceptional political change, which is what this city needs most.

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3 Comments on "New York City Is Already At Its 2020 Population Forecast"

  1. Steve Ferguson | April 18, 2015 at 11:58 am | Reply

    From the time of the collapse of the West Side Highway and Lindsey rather than accept federal money to rebuild it demanded money for mass transit which might have been a good idea except for the fact that Congress made it clear that the money would only go for the West Side Highway. Lindsey called their bluff and lost all the way around NO MONEY AT ALL The moron! With NY’s renaissance new and rebuilt infrastructure is essential The city has expanded well beyond the five boroughs and now has a population of 24,500,000 Some degree of central planning is needed for the whole metropolitan area I know the elite suburbs want to control all even to the stopping of a bridge to connect Long Island to the mainland New ideas and more planning for the area as whole is the only way to go

    • Robert DiLallo | July 4, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Reply

      The proposed Oyster Bay to Rye will never be built. It was DOA in the 1960s. It’s even deader today. The two towns involved are old, expensive, beautiful suburbs, with parts retaining their rural character. None of the towns, especially on the Long Island side would ever allow it. It would be in litigation for generations. This is not to mention how it would degrade the Sound itself. I’m not sure if you’ve been sleeping for the last 10 years, but there has been an incredible amount of infrastructure built in the city and beyond. There is a $33 billion effort in gear now for downstate simply to repair and replace what already exists and THAT is 12 billion shy of what is needed. The new rail/subway work built in Manhattan/Queens in the last 10 years is in the $40 billion range. The Tappan Zee Bridge is being replaced ($6 billion). The third water tunnel has just recently been replaced. Gas line infrastructure is being improved/replaced to the tune of $3 billion per year. The Kosciusko Bridge is going to be replaced. The entire infrastructure underground at Grand Central is being refitted ($7 billion). The idiot extremist Christie prevented one of the most crucial projects, the second rail tunnel between NY and NJ, but it will be built as soon as he is bounced from office. The state of NY has a 4-year $15 billion plan for road and bridge building, $11 billion of which will go to downstate work. There is also a huge effort underway for flood/hurricane control. I’m not sure of the cost. There are only so many billions to go around.

  2. 8/30/15

    IF, I’m wrong please correct me know. Does , Staten Island needs to building a badly needed transportation infrastructure that includes a train tunnel and yes ferry is fine but what I mention before is what is in more demand . Do you agree? I just purchase Apartment, located on Cliff st, right next door to the coast guard station. If the island does not build alternative transportation, what’s the point of staying on the island, and others who travel to the City will feel the same! No or Yes?

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