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When Manhattan was even more crowded

Posted by: Peter Coy on January 8, 2008

NYC in 1910If you think New York City is brimming over now, imagine what it was like a century ago. The population of New York County (i.e. Manhattan) in 1910 was 2,762,522, according to the Census Bureau. The estimated population in 2005 was 1,593,200.

That’s amazing—70% more people in Manhattan a century ago than today. Think about that next time you try to fight your way through the crowds in Times Square.

As I mentioned in a recent post, Harvard professors Ed Glaeser and Giacomo Ponzetto say density is a great thing for cities. Ideas spread more quickly in dense cities, they say. Then again, so do communicable diseases. My guess: The Manhattan of 1910 was just a bit overcrowded.

Reader Comments

Martin Ryan

January 14, 2008 8:30 AM

I wonder what proportion of today's crowds you fight through today actually live in Manhattan? Is a plausible explanation for the discrepancy between the 1910 and 2005 figures that in the early twentieth century more people actually lived in Manhattan but that today vast numbers just commute from outside?

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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