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Census Numbers Show Bronx Growth; Mt. Hope Loses 842 Residents

April 21, 2011

By JEANMARIE EVELLY

The Bronx gained more new residents than the other four boroughs over the last decade, and had the second highest gain in the state, according to recently released data from the 2010 United States Census.

The numbers, released by the Census Bureau on March 24, show that the Bronx gained 52,458 people since the last count in 2000, at a growth rate of 3.9 percent— a rate surpassed in the city only by Staten Island.

A look at the new figures reflect similar trends taking place in other large urban areas, according to William Bosworth, a professor at Lehman College who studies demographics and Census data.

“Generally, just because an area is minority doesn’t mean it’s going to lose population,” he said. “On the contrary — the areas that are losing population are mainly middle class, white areas.”

Indeed, the Bronx’s population boost is due to a spike in its number of Hispanic residents, who now account for 55 percent of the borough, up from 48 percent in 2000. The number of white and African-American residents in the borough have both decreased.

The neighborhoods that saw their populations grow the most over the last 10 years are Morrisania, Melrose, Mott Haven, Longwood and Crotona Park East, according to Census data compiled on the Department of City Planning’s website.

Local neighborhoods like Mount Hope, Morris Heights and University Heights all saw their populations decrease slightly since 2000, by several hundreds of residents. Mount Hope specifically lost 842 people, according to the data.

But while the population of the Bronx and the city overall have both increased, local legislators and Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the Census count comes up short.

There’s a lot at stake, as the amount of federal funding that states and cities receive depends on population numbers drawn from the Census.

“We have schools so overcrowded, they are bursting at the seams. New Yorkers can’t find affordable housing because the demand is huge and our streets are congested with pedestrians and automobiles,” said Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, in a press release. “It is beyond ridiculous that based on the figures and the reality of life in the city that we have to accept Census numbers that are obviously and critically wrong.

Bloomberg and other elected officials are calling on the Census Bureau to recount their numbers, especially in parts of Brooklyn and Queens that showed especially low numbers.

“I am certain that there was a slight undercount in the Bronx, as there are still many undocumented who are fearful of visits by government officials,” said Congressman Jose Serrano, whose district represents Mt. Hope as well as most of the south Bronx. “That said, the increase in our Bronx community by more than 50,000 people shows that our borough is on the rise and is a desirable place to live and do business.”

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