Lower Manhattan Sees Population Double

Lower Manhattan has risen from the ashes of 9/11 a changed neighborhood according to a newly released study from NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The streets of downtown are filled with young professionals and growing families. The population living below Chambers Street has more than doubled to 49,000 in 2014, from 22,700 in 2000. In 2014, almost 4,600 families with children under age 18 lived in Lower Manhattan, almost three times the number in 2000. The number of children in the area also tripled to 7,300.

The residential expansion of the area is helped by construction and conversion projects, including the Gehry tower and the former AIG building at 70 Pine Street. There were 30,000 residential units in the neighborhood in 2015, more than double the amount in 2000.

The local economy is growing faster than the citywide average and is much more diversified than before 2001. Private sector employment in Lower Manhattan has grown at an average annual rate of 2.6 percent since the end of the Great Recession to reach 228,300 jobs in 2015, equal to one in 10 of Manhattan’s private sector jobs.

The area has enjoyed dramatic job growth in business services, hotels, restaurants, health care and personal services (e.g. dry cleaners) industries that support the growing residential community and tourism. Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector has doubled since 2002, reaching 13,900 jobs in 2015, most of them in restaurants and hotels. Lower Manhattan now has 28 hotels, with another 10 planned to open before 2018.

Lower Manhattan is also home to a large number of media and information jobs with the arrival of companies such as Condé Nast, Time Inc. and HarperCollins. The increased diversification of Lower Manhattan jobs has helped make up for a decline in financial sector employment, which still predominates with 78,600 jobs in 2015 — about 1/3 of the total — but is down from 151,200 jobs in 2000.

It is increasingly a 24-hour neighborhood. New office buildings, improved mass transit, new retail complexes, restaurants and hotels are attracting residents, commuters and tourists. More than 14 million tourists visited Lower Manhattan in 2015. As of 2015, more than 23 million tourists had visited the National September 11 Memorial and 4 million had visited the Memorial Museum. The One World Trade Center Observatory attracted 2.3 million visitors in its first year of operation.

In addition to tourism, the area’s daytime population is swelled with hundreds of thousands of public and private sector employees, and college students. In the past two years, Pace University has opened two student residence halls in Lower Manhattan.

The full report from the NYS Comptroller can be viewed here.

The report also noted that:

  • More than 77 percent of Lower Manhattan’s population is under 45 years old;
  • More than one-third of the families had household incomes of $200,000 or more, compared with 7 percent citywide;
  • Almost 40 percent of area residents had earned a graduate degree or higher, compared with 14 percent citywide; and
  • Lower Manhattan has witnessed the recently completed World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the Westfield World Trade Center Mall, the Fulton Transit Center, and the ongoing redevelopment of the South Street Seaport and Pier 17, expected to be completed by 2017.