In 1970, The Bronx registered a historic population record of 1,471,701 residents—and then the great decline led to a 20% drop by 1980 as over 300,000 people fled the chaos our borough was thrown into by government officials with planned shrinkage, landlords torching their properties, redlining, and a host of other systemic issues that plagued our borough of which we still feel the impact today.
As of 2014 census estimates, The Bronx has an estimated population of 1,438,159—just 33,542 shy of our historic high in 1970.
Now in 2016, it may be safe to say that we’re even closer to that mark.
The Bronx of today is very different from the one in 1970.
For example, we’re considered the most diverse area in the country as per the US Census Bureau estimate which said in 2013 that if you picked two people at random in The Bronx, there was an 89.7% chance that they would be of a different race or ethnicity. That was not the case 46 years ago when things were a bit more homogenous in some regards.
Last year the census also placed The Bronx in the top 50 in the country that grew by numbers between 2013 and 2014.
A lot of this is due to the slew of construction that is taking place in our borough filling what was once vacant land so it only makes sense that our population is about to reach that historic peak—and surpass it very soon.
New contstruciton in Melrose alone can close that gap as thousands of more units are under development.
While this is certainly good news, it is definitely a moment for pause and introspection and ask ourselves where exactly are we headed? Can we make our borough truly a home for ALL and not displace residents with encroaching gentrification and force residents who have generations of history in The Bronx?
Will our borough be able to survive the oncoming wave of development being thrust upon us? Change is an inevitable part of life but we don’t have to lose our soul in the process like Manhattan, Brooklyn and now Queens is doing.
We can truly live up to being the one TRUE borough if we stick together.