Historic Shift: Fewer Blacks in NYC, More Whites

The Census numbers show a continuing change in the racial geography of New York City in the last decade. According to a WNYC analysis of the numbers, the Asian population increased 32 percent in the city and now makes up 13 percent of the total city population. Hispanic residents grew by 8.1 percent in the city.

John Mollenkopf, a political scientist and director of CUNY's Center for Urban Research, said the increase in Hispanics and Asian populations was a continuation of previous immigration patterns. For him, it was the city’s demographic shifts for whites and blacks that stood out.

"The white population pretty much held steady, instead of declining, and the white population of New York City has been declining since 1950, he said. "In a sense, whites and blacks have traded places in this decade, in terms of their population trajectories."

The white population in the city increased by 0.6 percent, while the black population dropped by 2 percent.

In Harlem, the black percentage of the population fell, while the percentage of whites and Asians in the neighborhood both increased. The percentage of black residents grew in Queens, the Hudson Valley and Yonkers.

Asians make up a smaller share of the residents in Chinatown, while their percentages increased in Spanish Harlem and Staten Island. Whites also make up a much larger share of residents in Central Brooklyn, while the percentage of whites fell in Queens, the Bronx, and to a lesser extent, on the Upper West Side.