Brooklyn is New York City's most populous of five boroughs and the second-largest in size. It has the same boundaries as Kings County, which is also the most populous county in the state and the second-most densely populated county in the country after New York County/Manhattan. If it were a city, Brooklyn would be the 4th most populous in the United States.
Brooklyn has an estimated population of 2.6 million with a very high population density of 36,732 people per square mile, or 14,182 per square kilometer. The history of the borough goes back 350 years and it has long been known as a popular destination for immigrants to the United States.
At the 2010 Census, the racial and ethnic breakdown of Brooklyn was:
- White: 49.5% (non-Hispanic: 35.8%)
- African American: 35.8%
- Asian: 11.3%
- Native American: 1.0%
- Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.1%
- Two or more races: 2.2%
- Other races: 8.9%
- Hispanic or Latino of any race: 19.8%
Brooklyn has a high female-to-male ratio with 88 males for every 100 females. It also has the largest lesbian community of any New York City borough.
There are many languages spoken in the borough, including Spanish (17%), Chinese (6.5%), Russian (5.5%), Yiddish (3.5%), French Creole (2.75%), Italian (1.3%), Hebrew (1.2%), Polish (1%), French (1%), Arabic (0.9%), Indic languages (0.8%) and Urdu (0.7%). A very high 38% of Brooklyn residents are foreign born.
Brooklyn has many well-known neighborhoods, each reflecting the ever-changing population. The Brownsville neighborhood, for example, had a majority of Jewish people through the middle of the 20th century but it is now mostly African American. Meanwhile, Midwood was mostly Irish during the beginning of the 20th century, then Jewish, and today it has a thriving Pakistani population.
Neighborhoods in Brooklyn are becoming more mixed with more immigrants integrating into the various areas.
Neighborhoods and their corresponding major ethnic groups:
- Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) has one of the most well-known African-American communities in the city.
- Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay have large Ukranian and Russian populations and businesses. The area is nicknamed Little Odessa and Little Russia. Brighton Beach has the largest concentration of Russians in the state. The area was originally a Jewish neighborhood.
- Bushwick has the largest Hispanic community in Brooklyn, many of whom are Puerto Rican with some Dominican and people from South America. About 80% of the neighborhood's population is Hispanic. Other neighborhoods with large Puerto Rican, Dominican and Salvadoran populations include East New York, Williamsburg, and Sunset Park. Mexicans are concentrated in Sunset Park while Panamanians live in Crown Heights.
- Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge have large Italian American communities. There are also Italian Americans in other neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn, including Gravesend, Marine Park, Bergen Beach and Mill Basin. Carroll Gardens has a very old Italian American community.
- Borough Park, Flatbush and Williamsburg are home to many Hasidic Jews and Orthodox Jews, as well as several synagogues, yeshivas and Jewish businesses and schools. Other neighborhoods with large Hasidic and Orthodox Jews include Crown Heights, Sea Gate, Canarsie, Midwood and Kensington. Non-religious Jews are concentrated in Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Ditmas Park.
- Greenpoint is home to Little Poland, a large Polish community in Brooklyn. This is the second-largest concentration of Polish immigrants in the U.S.
- The West Indian community of the borough is mainly found in Canarsie, Kensington, East Flatbush, Flatbush and Crown Heights. Brooklyn has the largest West Indian community outside of the Carribbean after Toronto, Montreal, London and Miami. Most West Indians in the borough are Jamaican, Haitian and Guyanese.
- Greek Americans are concentrated in Downtown Brooklyn near Atlantic Avenue.
- Chinese Americans are concentrated in southern Brooklyn, particularly in Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Sunset Park, Gravesend and Homecrest, with the largest community in Sunset Park, which is known as Brooklyn's Chinatown.
- Irish Americans are concentrated in Bay Ridge, Marine Park, Vinegar Hill and Gerritsen Beach, although many moved to Long Island in the mid-20th century
- Arab Americans and Muslim communities are concentrated in the southwest part of Brooklyn, mostly in Bay Ridge.
- Brooklyn has a large ethnic press that includes El Diario La Prensa, the oldest and largest Spanish-language daily newspaper in the country, Hamodia, an Orthodox Jewish newspaper and more than 300 other non-English newspapers and magazines.
- Before 1898, Brooklyn was its own city. Many residents of the borough call this the "Great Mistake of 1898."
- The average price of an apartment in the borough is more than $630,000. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,455 per month.
- Brooklyn gets its name from Dutch colonists, who originally named the village Breuckelen.
- Brooklyn has the oldest subway tunnel in the world and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.