This week, I heard a bunch of facts about NYC that absolutely blew me away. I have heard some of them before, but some of them were brand new. We we first moved to NYC, our transition was hard. It wasn’t just going from two cars to no cars, or going from suburban/rural living to city life, or adjusting to public transportation, or transitioning from polite in your face but talk behind your back Southern culture to I-say-it-all-to-your-face NYC culture, but mostly I think it was we felt like we had literally moved overseas to a different world where it felt like hardly anyone was like us. Granted, not all parts of NYC feel like this, but Queens for sure does.
Part of this was exciting. We knew that God was calling us to move here to impact this city that we felt impacted our country and the world, and even realizing that the world is literally here in Queens was exciting. But learning about so many different cultures and languages and people groups was (and still can be) absolutely exhausting. So before I continue, let me share the facts I learned via this website:
- With a July 2015 population of 8,550,405, New York is the most populous city in the United States, more than twice the size of the second largest city, Los Angeles.
- About 1 in every 38 people living in the United States resides in New York City.
- New York has the highest population density of any major city in the United States, with over 27,000 people per square mile.
- Over 3 million of New York City’s residents are foreign-born; over one-quarter arrived in 2000 or later.
- Nearly 2 million New Yorkers are under the age of 18.
- New York City has more people than 40 of the 50 U.S. states.
- New York City comprises over two-fifths of New York State’s entire population.
- New York City has grown by over 1 million people since 1990.
- There are nearly 400,000 more women than men in New York.
- There is a birth in New York City every 4.4 minutes.
- There is a death in New York City every 9.1 minutes.
- The borough of Brooklyn on its own would be the 4th largest city in the United States; Queens would also rank 4th nationally.
- Approximately two-thirds of dwelling units in New York are renter-occupied, over twice the national average.
- New York City has the largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia.
- More persons of West Indian ancestry live in New York City than any city outside of the West Indies.
- New York has the largest Puerto Rican population of any city in the world.
- More Dominicans live in New York than any other city in the world, barring Santo Domingo.
- Over 2.4 million Hispanics reside in New York City, more than any other city in the United States.
- The Black nonhispanic population of New York City numbered 1.89 million in 2014, more than double the count in any other U.S. city.
- Half of all New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home.
- Over 200 languages are spoken in New York City.
- Queens has over 2.3 million residents and more than one million of them are immigrants.
Were you shocked by any of these? When we say that the world literally lives here, we aren’t kidding. Two nights ago, we had dinner with a couple who are Puerto Rican but they are actually part of a group called Nuyorican, which are people of Puerto Rican descent who are born in NYC. Even when they go back to Puerto Rico, their dialect sets them apart and Puerto Ricans automatically know they are Nuyoricans. Tonight, we have friends coming over for the Super Bowl from China and Korea.
With all these great things, there are other hard things. Becoming aware of just how much we have white privilege. Empathizing with those who are very much being affected by our country’s immigration policies. Hearing the stories of how Christians have treated people in the past (and sometimes the present) and have even ignored their plights. Waking up to facts that weren’t taught in history classes in school, like American banned Chinese immigration for 80 years with the Chinese Exclusion Act and horrific acts occurred during this time. Learning what it means to use your privilege for others. There is so, so much more.
Despite the hard learning we are doing, I absolutely love the diversity in NYC and learning about so many different cultures and languages. Kinsley just shared this morning that she knows how to say hello in 3 other languages besides English because of learning from people in those ethnic groups. I think it is a blessing that my children will grow up beside and learn from people who look so different from them and have so many different cultural traditions. I think its so inspiring to think that if so many of these people come to know Jesus, they can go back to their country (which most usually travel back to once or twice a year) and spread the name of Jesus all over the world. While it can be so exhausting to continually cross cultures, it is such a God-given blessing to be able to see the beauty He has created in all people groups.