Monday, August 01, 2011
2010 Census Reveals Startling Population Changes
If you think census numbers are of scholarly interest only to statisticians and demographers, you’ve got another think coming. Careful analysis of the 2010 Census results being dribbled out by the Census Bureau reveals some startling and unanticipated trends. The most notable statistic is the degree to which
Westchester’s population balance has been affected by international migration and high fertility rates among minority groups, especially Hispanics.
What the Numbers Tell Us
Today, Hispanics are the fastest-growing population group in
Westchester. In the 20 years between 1990 and 2010, the county’s Latinos grew by an astonishing 140 percent and Asians by 60 percent.
Hispanics constituted only nine percent of the county’s population in 1990. That number grew to 16 percent in 2000, displacing blacks as the largest minority group. Another decade later, the county’s Latino population stands at an impressive 22 percent.
Blacks increased by a mere five percent between 1990 and 2010. (The Census Bureau accepts the designations Hispanic or Latino as equivalent, but prefers the term black to African-American.)
In 1990, the number of residents identifying themselves as white--
Westchester’s largest ethnic or racial group--constituted 79 percent of the county’s population. By 2010, the white population dropped an unexpectedly large 22 percentage points. Whites now comprise 57 percent of Westchester’s population.
On March 7, 1788, five years after the end of the Revolutionary War,
was created and divided into 20 towns. Today, it is made up of 19 towns, many still with their original boundaries and each nominally administered by a supervisor. Within the towns, six cities and 20 villages were added, each administered by a mayor. Three Westchester towns-- Westchester County Mount Kisco, and Harrison--are now in a separate category described as a "town/village.” Scarsdale
Administrative nomenclature can be downright confusing. For example, there's a separate Ossining town and an Ossining village, a separate Mamaroneck town and a
Mamaroneck village, and a separate Pelham town and a Pelham village, as well as a Pelham Manor village. Two villages are shared by towns: Briarcliff Manor is split between Ossining and Mount Pleasant, Mamaroneck between the towns of Rye and Mamaroneck.
Among Westchester’s towns,
Bedford and Yorktown are the largest in area; Pelham is the smallest. Greenburgh is the most populous; Pound Ridge has the smallest population. Among villages, Port Chester is the most populous; Buchanan has the smallest population.
Realtors don’t like to admit it, but choice of a community by house- or apartment-seekers is often based on two factors: the racial or ethnic complexion of a community and the strength of its school system. The latter figure, of course, is not measured by the federal census.
The “whitest” Westchester city is
, with an 85-percent white population. Among towns, Pound Ridge (94%) and Lewisboro (90%) are the leaders, closely followed by Somers, North Salem and Rye . Mamaroneck, New Castle North Castle, Eastchester and Yorktown also are towns with white populations of more than 80 percent.
Among villages, Larchmont (88%) and Bronxville (87%) have the largest percentage of whites. Pelham Manor, Briarcliff Manor,
, Rye Brook and Croton-on-Hudson also have white populations larger than 80 percent. Irvington
Hispanics are the leading minority in the city of
Peekskill, making up 37 percent of the population, with a close second at 35 percent. (Minorities are defined as persons of any race or ethnic group other than non-Hispanic, single-race whites.) Yonkers
, 30-percent Hispanic in 1990, doubled its Hispanic population in 20 years. Sleepy Hollow (51%), Ossining (41%), Elmsford (38%) and village of Port Chester (35%) also had impressive gains. Mount Kisco
Among cities, the highest percentage of blacks is
Mount Vernon’s 61 percent, trailed by Peekskill’s 21 percent and ’s 18% percent. Among villages, Elmsford has the largest percentage of blacks (20%), followed by New Rochelle Ossining (16%) and Tuckahoe (10%).
Asians comprise six percent of the population of the cities of
White Plains, Rye and . The Yonkers village of Ardsley claims the highest percentage of Asians (17%), followed by (13%).and Elmsford (11%). (Asians include Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Pakistanis, Indians, Filipinos and Pacific Islanders.) Scarsdale
Native Americans make up an almost insignificant percentage of
Westchester’s population (0.1%). Recent news stories alleging that many Hispanics are describing themselves on census forms as Native American are not borne out by census results. In 1990, Native Americans numbered 1,405; by 2010, that figure had dropped to 1,141.
Density of a community’s population is a function of lot size and the number of multiple dwellings. Overall,
Westchester's population density is 2,193 persons per square mile.
Port Chester is the most densely populated, followed closely by Tuckahoe. The latter’s 6,486 residents are crammed into only six-tenths of a square mile, making it almost as densely populated as the city of . Yonkers
Other densely populated villages are Pelham,
Ossining and Bronxville. Briarcliff Manor is the least densely populated village, trailed by Buchanan and Croton-on-Hudson.
Westchester was home to 184,257 persons. One hundred years later, its population had grown more than fivefold. Much of this growth occurred in the southern part of the county. During the first two decades of the 20th century, the cities of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and all more than doubled their populations. Yonkers
The fastest-growing Westchester community in the 20th century, however, was the town/village of
with a population increase of almost twentyfold. Scarsdale
Following World War II,
Westchester’s population soared by 29 percent between 1950 and 1960. Towns and villages alike saw rapid growth. The town of grew 248 percent. Other big population jumps in this period include the villages of Ardsley (129%), Rye Brook (128%), and Briarcliff Manor (105%). Yorktown
Population changes, however, are not always in the plus column. Between 1970 and 1990,
’s population actually went down. In the 1980 Census, all six Westchester County Westchester cities lost population, as did all villages with the exception of Briarcliff Manor.
The population of Bronxville has gone down steadily since 1940.
Mt. Vernon’s population similarly declined after reaching a in 1960. high point Yonkers reached a population in 1970 and has not attained that number again. high point
Growth and decline are perfectly natural. Communities tend to go through cycles described as youth, a period characterized by growth, middle age, a period of retrenchment, and old age, a time when older housing stocks need restoration or replacement; when traffic patterns change and neighborhoods decline.
A multicultural community with a racial and ethnic composition not unlike that of the
United States, Westchester’s major population groups were revealed in the 2010 Census to be 57 percent white, 22 percent Hispanic, 13 percent black and five percent Asian.
What no census can reveal is the embarrassing statistic that
’s administrative structure is glaringly redundant. Its property taxes are the highest of the 3,141 counties in the Westchester County Moreover, U.S. has some of the highest property taxes of any state in the nation. The effect high taxes plus heretofore unchecked annual tax rate increases have had on population growth in New York Westchester is evidenced by the “white flight” that has taken place over the past 20 years.
Although the federal government is responsible for controlling immigration, the federal census counts residents--not their citizenship. Illegal immigrants pay no taxes and are a considerable drain on social services and the economy. Unfortunately, we have no firm count of their numbers either in the nation or in
The bottom line is this: Barring a change in national immigration policy and fertility rates, if population trends continue as they have in the recent past, by the time of the next census, 2020, one in every three
Westchester residents will be a Latino. Westchester’s minorities will become the new majority, and its dwindling white population will be a minority.
Labels: Current Affairs