NYC Population is Growing, but Housing Lags Behind

NYC SkylineMidtown Manhattan Skyline

New population estimates show that New York City reached a record high of 8,405,837 residents in 2013, gaining 215,782 people since the 2010.

This accelerated growth illustrates the city’s strength, its improving quality of life, and the perceived opportunity that the city holds for economic and social advancement.

The largest gain is from international migration: 229,000 people moved to New York from abroad since 2010. The city’s planning department noted, “Much of this inflow consists of young migrants to Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, where they live largely in non-family households.”

At the same time, the number of people moving out of New York for other places in the U.S. has slowed: the city lost 204,000 people to domestic migration.

The city also gained 213,000 residents through natural increases, or the number of births over the number of deaths. But as the city’s population surges, the number of new housing units coming on line continues to drag down New York’s future. Population increased by 215,000, but the increase in housing units was a paltry 21,688.

The largest disparity was in Brooklyn, which grew by 82,500 people but gained only 5,300 housing units.

Population IncreaseHousing Unit Increase
Staten Island2,9301,311
Hudson County24,5913,884
Nassau County11,098-2,026
Westchester County18,285-1,424

The city’s planning commissioner, Carl Weisbrod, seems to understand the problem. “These population increases underscore the need to spur creation of housing for all New Yorkers,” Weisbrod said, “Something which we are focusing on as part of the Mayor’s mandate to provide 200,000 affordable apartments over the next ten years.”

It is also interesting to note that some of the counties outside of New York City actually showed a decline in the number of housing units since 2010, including both Nassau and Westchester, according to Census data. This is important to keep in mind, as the housing crunch is an issue that must also be addressed on a regional basis.

NYC 2020

Mock-up of the NYC skyline in 2020

Hudson County in New Jersey is picking up some of the slack, gaining 3,800 new housing units since 2010, about as many as the Bronx despite having half of the population.

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