Study finds immigrants make up larger share of Queens neighborhoods

Victor Tan, 7, pets a lion dancer during a Lunar New Year celebration through Elmhurst.
TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

In the borough that prides itself as the most diverse county in the nation, almost half of Queens’ 2.2 million residents were born in another country.

Between 2000 and 2011, Queens’ population became increasingly foreign-born, according to a recent report by the Department of City Planning analyzing census data.

Immigrants accounted for 48.5 percent of the borough’s overall population in 2011, compared to 46.1 percent in 2000.

“In terms of immigrants as a percentage of the population, Queens was the most heavily immigrant borough,” the department’s report said. “The 1.09 million immigrants in Queens comprised nearly one-half of the borough’s population (49 percent), the highest immigrant concentration in the city.”

The city’s report breaks the census data down to the neighborhood level, showing which neighborhoods have the most immigrants, which have the most disproportional foreign-born populations and which neighborhoods are experiencing the most flux.

Although Queens had the largest foreign-born population, the neighborhood with the most immigrants was Washington Heights in Manhattan, which had more than 80,000 immigrants by 2011.

But only about 49 percent of Washington Heights was foreign born, whereas Elmhurst — which ranked third in the city with a foreign-born population of 77,110 — was 71 percent foreign.

“Other neighborhoods — all in Queens — with a disproportionate share of residents who were foreign-born were Flushing, Corona and Jackson Heights, each with over six-in-ten residents born outside the U.S.,” the report read.

And while Elmhurst is proportionally the most foreign neighborhood in all of New York City, it is less so than it was in 2000. The western Queens neighborhood’s foreign population dropped about 4 percent during that time span and other communities like Astoria (down about 30 percent) and Jackson Heights (down 9.7 percent) — while still heavily populated by immigrants — also recorded losses.

And while many of Queens’ most diverse neighborhoods had declines in their immigrant populations, some experienced increases.

Corona, Flushing and Richmond Hill each had their immigrant populations climb between 4 percent and 8 percent, and South Ozone Park underwent a boom of 14.5 percent.

Throughout the borough, Asian immigrants account for 37 percent of the population, making Queens the only county in the city where Asians formed a plurality.

Bangladeshis broke into the borough’s Top 10 immigrant groups, outranking Indians for the first time.

Immigrants from China — who made up 13 percent of Queens’ overall population — were at the top of the list, followed by those from Guyana, Ecuador, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Korea, Bangladesh, India and Jamaica.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 12:54 am, January 10, 2014
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Misleading from Queens says:
The stats are for legal residents. What about all of the criminals who either overstayed visas or broke into the country and are stealing our tax dollars through services they do not deserve?
Jan. 9, 2014, 10:47 am
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
And this is likely the reason why so many parts of Queens is filthy and garbage all over while looking like a low class third world country.
Jan. 9, 2014, 11:20 am
susan from queens says:
Everyday on the 7 train, I feel as if I'm in a different's so sad when I'm the only person in the entire train car that speaks english. ....and no I am not proud that queens is over runned by illegals and foreigners who have no intention of becoming citizens. Statistics show that only 47 percent of immigrants in the usa in 2011 actually took the citizenship test to become an actual citizen......that means 53 percent have no intentions of becoming citizens. ....quite sad.
Jan. 9, 2014, 5:39 pm
susan from queens says:
The 13 percent of Chinese and the Korean population has made bayside look like crap! Thanks for making bayside look like crap!
Jan. 9, 2014, 5:41 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Yeah, you can pretty much shove your ethnic diversity and vibrancy where the sun does not shine. Even though many will not admit, this is the reason Queens has gone down the toilet and is filthy, garbage all over and just a mess, especially in those areas of high diversity.

Good job folks for making a once nice borough look like your third world country.
Jan. 10, 2014, 3:45 pm
Martin from Flushing says:
I truly enjoy the diversity of Queens. I am a white, middle-class senior citizen. It is truly wonderful to see the economic and social development created by these immigrants. God Bless all immigrants. Spread Love, not hatred!
June 8, 2016, 1:31 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

MetroPlus NY Cancer and Blood Specialists NYU Winthrop VillageCareMax


Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: