How many people live on Roosevelt Island?
Getting Real with facts and figures
Roosevelt Island population? How many people live here? Should have an easy answer, but it doesn’t. So, let’s clear it up.
“The figures in the 2010 census confirm what we already suspected. Roosevelt Island has changed dramatically, Where once were ruins now stand carefully landscaped apartment buildings. Our subway platforms are more crowded, the crowds on the tram less familiar, the challenge of melding into a unified community more complex.”David Stone
Problems sound familiar?
They do, and what I reported for a newspaper assignment when the last census numbers came out hasn’t changed much.
Including the confusion and misleading claims. Reasons for them are lost in an unreported past. But the facts are clear, and knowing them matters.
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Clearing Up Roosevelt Island’s Population
I got into a little trouble with my editor when I finished my report. Our 2010 numbers — 11,661 — didn’t sit well.
“We’ve been telling people it’s 14,000,” he barked.
Those “people” were often advertisers, and the real number meant they weren’t getting what they were promised.
But two things didn’t change. Roosevelt Island’s total population or the false promises. RIOC, which may have been the originator of the phony figure, even bumped it up to 15,000 in 2018. Before we called them out.
But neither the newspaper nor my editor ever did a correction.
So, here goes.
You can change your opinion, but facts are facts…
I spent more time with our fact checker for that article than for any other, and that made my report rock solid. She worried because activist Frank Farance was certain to challenge.
But he didn’t.
Even our hardest to please critic accepted my numbers.
They were simple, really.
Roosevelt Island population comes from two census tracts, and we got both directly from a congressional source. And we got them early with a promise not to tell who slipped us the numbers ahead of everyone else.
So, you won’t get that, but you’ll get the numbers.
- Total population: 11,661
- Total in households: 9,763 (83.7%). The rest were in group settings, the vast majority in Goldwater and Coler Hospitals.
Figures for other demographics revealed shifts in how we identify ourselves. Most importantly, our Asian population soared, doubling to over 20%. Many were students, here to study as NYU, Weill Cornell and Fordham Law.
But how many live on Roosevelt Island today?
It’s likely the headcount hasn’t changed much, just shifted.
Since that census, one new building went up and added residents in Southtown. Another’s on the way, but it won’t count for 2020.
If occupants per household are similar — and they should be — Southtown buildings add around 550 people when filled up.
Cornell Tech opened a residence, The House, for faculty and students. And that adds another 500.
But that growth is wiped out by the closing of Goldwater. That took away roughly 1,100 Roosevelt Islanders. Coler’s count fell by a few hundred, and there are fewer group homes.
By the time Southtown #8 opens, later this year, reality says we’ll be back where we were in 2010.
About 11,500 of us. My numbers can and should be challenged. They may go up a little. Or down.
But it’s time, in any case to wipe that 14,000 out of our heads altogether.
Reported by David Stone