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Boro diversity grows in new Census data

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Nearly the same number of Queens residents who trace their ancestry to Italy have roots in the West Indies, according to new U.S. Census estimates released last week.

The data, which covers 2005−07, offered more glimpses into the diversity of the city’s most diverse borough. Earlier in the year, Census statistics were issued that covered just 2007.

Of the 2.26 million residents in Queens, more than 173,000 — or 7.7 percent — trace their roots to Italy.

They were followed by the more than 153,000— or 6.8 percent — whose ancestors hailed from the West Indies and those of Irish descent at more than 113,000, or 5 percent, of the borough’s population.

There are more households that speak a language other than English in the home at 54.5 percent than those where only English is spoken at 45.5 percent, the estimates showed.

Of the households where English is not the only language spoken, 28.9 percent speak English less than “very well.”

Queens is also roughly split down the middle between native−born residents at 49.8 percent and those born in another country at 48.3 percent. Roughly 2 percent were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. territories or born abroad to American parents.

Close to a majority of the borough’s foreign−born residents hail from Latin America at 49.1 percent, followed by Asia at 34 percent, Europe at 14.5 percent and Africa at 2 percent. Less than 1 percent are from North America.

A large majority of Queens immigrants — 80 percent — entered the United States before 2000, while 20 percent came to America after that date.

Information gathered by the Census was conducted before the economy collapsed, meaning the financial picture the figures painted of the borough are largely underestimated.

The median individual income for men during the three−year span was estimated at more than $40,000, while women earned about $3,000 less.

A plurality of families in Queens — 107,409 — earned between $50,000 and $74,999, with the average income at more than $72,000 for a family.

Households headed by single mothers with children under 18 had the largest percentage of income below the poverty level within the last year of the estimates at 26.6 percent.

That number was followed by single mothers with children under 5 years old at 23.9 percent and families with children under 18 years old at 13.9 percent.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

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