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Brooklyn Facts & Firsts

Line drawing of the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn is the 3rd Largest "City" in America — Larger than Boston, Atlanta, Washington DC & Minneapolis Combined

Line drawing of three people figures

Over 1/3 of Residents were Born in Another Country

Line drawing of a city building

Brooklyn Claims New York City’s First Designated Historic District

Brooklyn is the most diverse community on the planet. An old legend claims that as many as one in seven Americans can trace their roots through Brooklyn. And while that may not be a provable fact, we have gathered some real stats that both impress and implore us all to do more for the borough we love:

Brooklyn is the 3rd Largest “City” in America—Larger than Boston, Atlanta, Washington DC & Minneapolis Combined

With over 2,736,074 residents living across 70 neighborhoods, Brooklyn is New York City’s most populous and fastest growing borough. Brooklyn had the largest population gain of all NYC boroughs from Census 2010 to 2020 (9.2%), and is just short of its record population reached in 1950.

Brooklyn is Home to the 2nd Largest Black Population of Any City in North America

Nearly 730,000 Black people live in Brooklyn—second only to Chicago—and larger than Atlanta and Detroit’s Black population combined. However, Brooklyn’s Black population decreased by 8.7% from 2010 to 2020.


Only 7.6% of NYC's Philanthropic Dollars Goes to Brooklyn

While Brooklyn is home to the second-greatest number of nonprofits in New York City (over 13,000), organizations in Brooklyn only receive 7.6% of all philanthropic giving in the five boroughs. In comparison, Manhattan-based organizations receive a staggering 10 times that figure, 76% of giving across New York City.

Over 1/3 of Residents were Born in Another Country

Brooklyn is home to speakers of over 200 languages, and nearly 50% of all households speak a language other than English at home.

Nearly 1 in 5 Brooklyn Residents Lives in Poverty

Brooklyn ranks first in New York City in total number of children living in poverty.

Brooklyn Has the Most Units of Public Housing in New York City

There are 85 NYCHA developments with 54,355 apartments in Brooklyn. Brownsville has the highest concentration of public housing in the nation.

51% of Brooklyn tenants are rent burdened, with over 30% of their income going to rent

Brooklyn is  home to the highest number of New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity.

1 in 6 Residents over 25 Do Not Have a High School Diploma

42.4% of residents over 25 have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

Nearly 30% of individuals in the NYC shelter system come from Brooklyn.

Brooklynites make up the 2nd highest percentage of individuals in the shelter system, second to individuals from The Bronx.


Brooklyn Firsts

A black and white photo of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. She is a Black woman with curly hair and glasses.
House Black Caucus Shirley Chisholm. Photo by Warren K. Leffler, 1973. //
Shirley Chisholm
The Nation’s First Black Congresswoman Was a Brooklynite

Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Shirley Chisholm was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968.

Brooklyn Has the Longest-Standing Public Library System in All of New York City

Home to 59 libraries, The Brooklyn Public Library system was founded in 1892, before The New York Public Library (1895) and The Queens Public Library (1896).

Brooklyn had the 2nd-largest free Black community in pre-Civil War America

Weeksville — located in the present-day neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant — was an independent free Black community established by James Weeks in 1838.

Brooklyn has the Oldest Performing Arts Center in the Nation

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) was founded in 1861.

New York State’s First Black Woman Physician was a Brooklynite

Born in Weeksville, Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward became the first Black woman to ever earn a medical degree in New York State — and the third in the entire nation — when she graduated in 1870.

Brooklyn is Home to the First Children’s Museum in the United States

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum was established in 1899.

Brooklyn Claims New York City’s First Designated Historic District

The Brooklyn Heights neighborhood was landmarked by the City in 1965.

Brooklyn’s Inventions Have Had a Global Impact

Credit Cards, Air Conditioners, Teddy Bears, and Roller Coasters are just a few of the notable inventions to come out of the borough and spread worldwide.