In case you were wondering Bushwick is not the most gentrifying neighborhood in the city. It placed fourth on the top 15 list of most gentrifying neighborhoods, according to a study.
The NYU Furman Center on Real Estate and Urban Policy regularly releases reports containing statistics about housing in NYC. They recently released their annual report, “State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods,” which details changes in demographic makeup in three types of NYC neighborhoods (gentrifying, non-gentrifying, and higher-income). Most of the information in the 21 page report is disheartening because problems related to housing affordability seem to touch people in all neighborhoods.
Bushwick’s median rent went up by 44% between 1990 and 2014. At first, this number seems impossible but consider an example, a 44% rent increase would turn a $1200/month price tag on a 1-bedroom into $1735/month. Given those numbers, it’s likely the bulk of that 44% increase happened in the past decade. Other neighborhoods, ranking higher on the gentrification list fared far worse in this metric. For instance, Williamsburg/Greenpoint’s median rent went up by an unbelievable 78.7%.
After the mass exodus from New York City between 1970 and 1980, the city lost over 800,000 people. In gentrifying neighborhoods, 25.9% of the population left during that time period. By now, most parts of New York City have regained their populations, but gentrifying neighborhoods are still running an nearly 16% population deficit collectively. It’s hard to believe when you take a look at how crowded the L is during the evening rush hour.
Meanwhile, the average household income rose only in gentrifying neighborhoods (from $51,000 to $58,000 in 2015) further pointing to the fact that, generally, incomes in the United States are not increasing along with inflation. This points to a much larger problem than issues in gentrifying neighborhoods like Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint. The number of rent-burdened households (those having to pay more than 30% of their income for housing) increased across the board by nearly 13% since the the year 2000.
In short, income has been mostly flat citywide even as the rent burden went up. Enough ink is spilled over the problems associated with gentrification, but the housing crisis in this city is far more complicated than the new coffee shop/bar/vintage bike shop you love to hate down the block.