NYC & LA Demographics

Kay and I have a silly conversation about why many New Yorkers suffer from a myopic view of their city and its importance in the world. I don’t have time to engage in an all-out pissing contest but I wanted to respond to the comment she made on the post below.

Hi, Jack, it’s Kay, from the Chayyei Sarah thread. I don’t really want to get into an argument about which is better, NYC or LA or any other city since that really wasn’t my the intent of my original comment.

But I do want to touch on one point that you made regarding diversity. LA is definitely not more diverse than NY. I looked up the census numbers. LA is basically a white and Hispanic city with some blacks and Asians mixed in. NY, by contrast, is not heavily anything. The racial mix is split almost evenly between white, black, and Hispanic, plus a sizeable Asian contingent.

Hi Kay,

Thanks for coming over, I appreciate your taking the time to share that with us. I have a couple of comments. First, you didn’t provide a link to your source. Now I am not saying that you misrepesented anything, but if we are going to engage in a dialogue it makes it difficult to discuss when there is no substance to use.

I am rather short on time now, but had enough to do a very basic search. If you run it through the Wikis here is what you will find for Los Angeles and New York.

Los Angeles
The people of Los Angeles are known as Angelenos. L.A. can truly be described as a “world city” — that is, it has one of the largest and most diverse populations of any municipality anywhere. The Hispanic and Asian American populations are growing particularly quickly — the Asian American population is the largest of any city in the U.S. Los Angeles hosts the largest populations of Armenians, Cambodians, Filipinos, Guatemalans, Israelis, Koreans, Thais, Mexicans, Hungarians and Salvadorans outside of their respective countries. Los Angeles is also home to the largest populations of Japanese and Persians living in the U.S., and has one of the largest Native American populations in the country.

L.A. is home to people from more than 140 countries, who speak at least 92 different languages. Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Koreatown, Little India (Artesia), Little Armenia, Thai Town, Historic Filipinotown and Little Ethiopia give testimony to the polyglot character of Los Angeles.

More on Los Angeles
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 3,694,820 people, 1,275,412 households, and 798,407 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,041.3/km² (7,876.8/mi²). There are 1,337,706 housing units at an average density of 1,101.1/km² (2,851.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 46.93% White, 11.24% African American, 0.80% Native American, 9.99% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 25.70% from other races, and 5.18% from two or more races. 46.53% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race and 29.75% White, not of Latino/Hispanic origins.

And now let us look at New York.

New York
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 8,008,278 people, 3,021,588 households, and 1,852,233 families residing in the city. The population density is 10,194.2/km² (26,402.9/mi²). There are 3,200,912 housing units at an average density of 4,074.6/km² (10,553.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 44.66% White, 26.59% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 9.83% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 13.42% from other races, and 4.92% from two or more races. 26.98% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. 35.9% of the population is foreign born (18.9% born in Latin America, 8.6% Asia, 7.0% Europe).

Based upon the numbers shown in these examples we can see that your argument that Los Angeles is White and Hispanic and New York is not anything is flawed and inaccurate. New York has a White population of almost 45% and LA is almost 47%, a minor distinction don’t you think.

Take a good look at the composition and growth and you’ll see that LA is exceptionally diverse. New York is too, but not in the same way and I suppose that one of the big distinction is the density. We are not forced to live on top of each other and spend our days fighting through gridlock so it probably appears to be a little different.

Time to get back to work.

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1 Comment

  1. Neil June 8, 2005 at 8:31 pm

    As someone who’s lived in both places (now I’m in LA), I’ve never understood the typical New Yorker’s need to not be bested in everything. New York has the best museums, the best theater — is it possible that the best pizza is actually in St. Louis? Or that another city could be as diverse as New York?

    Whatever the demographics, the real question is what is the quality of the interaction between different groups. Los Angeles is spread out, and in many ways it is segregated. But let’s admit it, so is New York. Most of nicer areas of Manhattan are as upper-class white as Beverly Hills. You can live in Manhattan and go to private school or work at a Park Avenue law firm and never really interact with another ethnic group. How often does someone from Manhattan go to hang out with friends in the Chinese area of Flushing or the Jamaican part of Brooklyn? All in all, I’d probably side with New York being the city with the more positive experience in diversity, but LA has it’s own unique diversity. Unfortunately, we more often than not see each other stuck on the freeway than across from us on the subway.

    Oh, by the way, we have better Mexican food.

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