By Bill Parry
Northwestern Queens has nearly as many foreign-born residents as the rest of the borough combined with 422,900, a new report on immigrants from the Department of City Planning found.
The heaviest presence is in the neighborhoods along the No. 7 subway line with Elmhurst having the highest share of foreign-born resident with 71 percent. Corona and Jackson Height are right behind in second and third place. Six out of ten residents of those neighborhoods were born outside the United States.
The 77,100 immigrants who live in Elmhurst represent the third largest concentration in the city. Some 22 percent are Chinese with Ecuadorians and Mexicans tied at 11 percent.
Ecuadorians are the majority in Jackson Heights at 16 percent followed by the Colombian community’s 13 percent. Corona has more Latin American immigrants than any other Queens neighborhood with more Mexicans (15,300) and Ecuadorians (14,000) than any other neighborhood in New York City,
The study, called The Newest New Yorkers, shows a decline in the foreign-born population in Astoria, particularly that of the Greek community according to the 2000 Cencus and the 2007-2011 American Community Survey. While Greeks are still the top foreign-born group in Astoria, the numbers trace a decline in immigration. But those numbers are from 2007-2011 and may not reflect a recent surge that are fleeing the economic turmoil back home.
The report also shows a stunning decline in the numbers of Irish-born residents in Woodside. Not only do the Irish not dominate like they did in the 1990s, they don’t even make the top ten anymore.
“Oh, I didn’t know that — wow,” said Dan O’Connor, the co-owner of Donovan’s Pub. “I knew it was on the decline because the younger generation has moved on. The old-timers are still around but we get a tremendous amount of business from funerals across the street at St. Sebastian’s.”
O’Connor points to two factors that caused the disappearance of the Irish in Woodside: The economy and the Department of Homeland Security. “When the economy tanked, it hit the construction industry hard and they moved where the jobs were, mostly in Canada and Australia,” O’Connor said. “And I’ve known many who went home for funerals and couldn’t get back into the United States because of Homeland Security rules.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.