NY1 continues its series on the 2010 U.S. Census, with a look at how housing has affected population growth in the Bronx. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
The population in the Bronx is booming. The borough grew by more than 52,000 residents in the last 10 years, bringing the total number to 1.4 million. The big draw is attractive rents.
"The fact is we have the lowest rents in the city and we have a lot of low wage workers in the city who are looking for more affordable place to live," says Greg Lobo Jost of the University Neighborhood Housing Program. "They are being priced out of other parts of the city, especially in upper Manhattan and central Brooklyn, where they have historically been able to afford for a number of generations."
The 2010 U.S. Census finds the Bronx has more than a half-million housing units, more than 21,000 from 10 years ago. There is a 5-percent vacancy rate.
The growth in housing stock can be attributed to rezoning, rehab and a boost in new construction.
The University Neighborhood Housing Program, a private, not-for-profit organization, conducts research on housing trends in the Bronx.
"Housing that is being built is all affordable housing that has a lot of apartments for families, two- and three-bedroom apartments," says Jost. "And so we are attracting families with kids. We have a lot of kids in the Bronx and that's a big part of the population growth."
But demand is high and not everyone can get into the affordable housing units. Jost says the Bronx has the highest concentration of people who pay half their income or more on their rent.
"At the same time, if it is a choice between living in the Bronx, where you can pay half your income on rent and still ride the subways to get to work, or leaving the city entirely, where you may not find any job or have to buy a car, people are going to choose and they have been choosing coming to the Bronx," says Jost.
The census numbers show it.