Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Stats of Ice and Gunfire

A couple of years ago I wrote about NYC demographics. I got natality data from the city's Summaries of Vital Statistics and used it to create a graph of recent demographic change in the city. Population estimates are unreliable for this purpose. If I remember correctly, just before the 2010 census the official estimate of the city's population was more than 8.4 million. But the census only counted 8.175 million. And I don't know which one was closer to the truth.

I'm guessing that the vast majority of births are still being registered here. So if you want to know in what direction the city is going and how fast, birth data are key.

The Summary of Vital Statistics for 2014 came out this past Wednesday. I used it to update my old graph.
The pace of gentrification did not abate in either 2013 or 2014. The share of Black births reached a new modern-era low with 19.4% in 2014. It peaked at 32% in 1986 and declined in every single year since then. In 2014 the share of Hispanic births was the lowest since 1983. The share of White births reached a new modern-era high of 33.1%.

Like last time I lumped these categories into the Ice People group (Whites and Asians) and the Sun People group (Blacks, Hispanics and Others). I put Others into the Sun group because according to the Summary of Vital Statistics their childhood mortality rate is closer to those of Blacks and Hispanics than to those of Whites and Asians.

In 2014, for the first time during the period covered by this graph and, I would guess, for the first time in more than half a century, NYC's Ice People had more kids (50.12%) than NYC's Sun People (49.88%). You can see the border between beige and yellow dip below 50% at the right edge of the graph. This is pretty historic.

Modern-style murder stats have only been kept here since 1961. From what I understand, before that year the city only recorded solved murders. The murder rate in 2014 was the lowest since the change to the current reporting format in 1961. The rate fell from about 30 in 1990 to about 4 in 2014. The number of murders rose by 5.7% in 2015, which was very worrying in light of BLM, the ban on stop and frisk and De Blasio's wrong-headedness, but so far this year it's only been 1.7% above the 2014 pace.

The gentrification trend is an enormous thing that's affected every facet of life in this city. People did not notice it until a few years after it began. I remember it being said during Giuliani's 1997 re-election campaign that crime was coming back. It didn't. Nobody knew if New York's revival was going to continue under Bloomberg (it did) and nobody really knows if De Blasio or national trends like sentencing reform are going to succeed at killing it in the near future. So I always look at these sorts of statistics fearing a new inflection point. I'm happy to report that the 2014 Summary of Vital Statistics does not contain that.

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