Manhattan is one of five boroughs of New York City and has the same boundaries as New York County. Most of the borough consists of Manhattan Island, which is bounded by the Hudson, East and Harlem Rivers, along with some land on the mainland and small islands.
Manhattan has an estimated population of 1.63 million people, all living in an area of just 23 square miles. This gives Manhattan a population density of 70,826 people per square mile, or 27,346 per square kilometer. Manhattan is the most densely populated of the five NYC boroughs and also the most densely populated county in the United States. It is more dense than any city in the country and one of the most densely populated areas on earth.
On weekdays, the number of commuters pushes the Manhattan population to more than 3.9 million, or 170,000 people per square mile.
Manhattan is the smallest borough in terms of land area and the third-largest in terms of population behind Brooklyn and Queens. Between 2000 and 2030, the population of Manhattan is expected to grow by 289,000 people. The school-age population is expected to increase, compared to an expected decline in New York City as a whole, by the elderly population is projected to grow by 58%.
The racial composition of Manhattan is:
- White: 58.9%
- Non-Hispanic White: 50.7%
- Asian: 10.3%
- Black or African American: 15.5%
Just 20% of people in Manhattan live in owner-occupied housing. This is the second-lowest rate of any county in the United States after the Bronx.
Manhattan has the second-highest number of non-Hispanic whites of any New York City borough at 48% behind Staten Island. About 27% of the population of Manhattan is foreign-born. People with Irish ancestry account for almost 8% of the population, while Italian Americans account for 7%, followed by German Americans (7%) and Russian Americans (6%).
Religious groups in Manhattan include the Roman Catholic Church (over 36% of the population), Jewish (20.5%), Protestants (9%) and Muslims (2.5%).
Manhattan has some of the most affluent and well-known neighborhoods in the country. Neighborhoods include:
- Harlem, which has been a large African American community since the 1920s and was originally a Dutch village named Haarlem after a city in the Netherlands. The neighborhood still suffers from many problems and 35% to 47% of the population receive income support from the government.
- SoHo (SOuth of HOuston) is known for upscale shopping and art galleries.
- TriBeCa (TRIangle BElow CAnal Street) has many industrial buildings that have been converted to residential lofts and buildings with a population that is 82% white, 9% Hispanic and 5% African American.
- Midtown Manhattan is home to iconic buildings like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building and it ranks among the most commonly used pieces of real estate on earth. Most of the skyscrapers in NYC are in Midtown.
- Washington Heights has many immigrants from the Dominican Republic.
- Chelsea has a large gay population and is known for being a center for art and nightlife.
- Alphabet City includes Avenues A, B, C and D, hence the name. These are the only avenues in Manhattan with single-letter names. The area has a very long history and has been an enclave for the German, Polish, Hispanic and Jewish populations of Manhattan.
- Hell's Kitchen. Officially Clinton, the origin of the name Hell's Kitchen is out of folklore. Once defined for its poverty and ethnic strife, the area is now undergoing gentrification.
- Upper East Side is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in NYC. The Upper East Side is mostly non-Hispanic white and it has the greatest concentration of individual wealth in Manhattan.
- Upper West Side is also an affluent residential area, with many residents working in Lower Manhattan or Midtown in commercial areas. It is known for being a center for artistic workers and an intellectual hub.
- Greenwich Village, or the Village, is a residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan. Long known for being an artists' haven, it has undergone gentrification and commercialization in recent decades.
- Little Italy was once known for its high number of Italian residents, but there are now few Italians left. Italian immigrants quickly gained the financial success to leave the area and it is now on the verge of extinction.
- Chinatown in Manhattan has the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western hemisphere.
"Manhattan" comes from the name Mannahatta, or "land of many hills," from the Lenape Indians, who lived on the island. The first European to reach Manhattan was Englishman Henry Hudson, who sailed for the Dutch and entered Upper New York Bay in 1609, although two earlier explorers in 1524 likely saw the island.
Manhattan was first settled by the Dutch in 1624, when a Dutch fur trading settlement was founded on Governors Island. A year later, Fort Amsterdam and a citadel were built on Manhattan Island, which was later called New Amsterdam, to protect new arrivals. According to documents, Manhattan was purchased by Dutch colonists from American Indians for the modern-day equivalent of $1,050. New Amsterdam was incorporated as a city in 1653, and it was renamed New York in 1664 when the English conquered the area. The Dutch Republic regained the city in 1673 and renamed it New Orange, although it was permanently ceded to the English just one year later in return for Run Island, a long-coveted link in the Dutch nutmeg trading monopoly in Indonesia.
It was in New York City in 1765 that the Stamp Act Congress of representatives from the Thirteen Colonies asserted the concept of "no taxation without representation," and the Sons of Liberty developed in Manhattan following this. Manhattan was also at the heart of many major battles of the early Revolutionary War.
During the Civil War, resentment grew in the city over Lincoln's war policy, particularly as the city then had a large and growing population of immigrants who could not afford to pay $300 to avoid conscription and felt free Blacks were taking their jobs. This resentment culminated in the 3-day New York Draft Riots, which was one of the worst incidents of civil disorder in the country's history that left about 119 people dead.
Manhattan was established as its own borough of New York City in 1898, at which time it had a white population of 98.7%, which dropped to just over 58% by 1990. The city grew rapidly, and is still a destination for immigrants the world over.
- Manhattan has the highest cost of living in the United States, but also some of the most profound income inequality in the country.
- Manhattan is one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the U.S. and the only county in the country with a per capita income of more than $100,000.
- Manhattan is often called the financial capital of the world and it is home to NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street.
- Manhattan is home to Times Square (aka the Crossroads of the World and the Center of the Universe)
- Manhattan was purchased from unnamed Native American people in 1626 for trade goods worth 60 guilders, the equivalent to $1,050 in today's currency.
- Manhattan means "island of the hills" in the language spoken by the Algonquin Indians.