Overcrowding in NYC homes soars: report

More than 1.4M New Yorkers lived in a packed dwelling in 2013, comptroller's data show
October 05, 2015 05:30PM

It may seem obvious to some New Yorkers who cram their lives into tiny one-bedrooms, but according to a new report by the city comptroller’s office, homes in all five boroughs are facing a troubling phenomenon: They are getting more crowded.

“Hidden Households,” a report by city Comptroller Scott Stringer, shows a spike in severely crowded homes, with a 44.8 percent increase citywide from 2005 to 2013. More than 1.4 million New Yorkers lived in a crowded or severely crowded dwelling in 2013, according to the report.

“This new report shows that the problem of crowding is stubbornly increasing, with nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers now living in a crowded or severely crowded home,” the comptroller said in a statement. “In response, the city must elevate crowding as a key housing priority to be addressed, while at the same time creating more affordable housing.”

The report, which drew data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, distinguished crowded dwellings as those that have more than one person per room and severely crowded as units with more than 1.5 persons per room. The Bronx saw the biggest jump in severely crowded units from 2005 to 2013, the proportion of such homes jumping by 74.82 percent. Brooklyn and Staten Island saw increases of 49.1 percent and 53.5 percent, respectively.

Stringer warns in the report that such crowding is a “common prelude to homelessness as it may reflect a fraying tie to the local housing market.” He recommends that the city form a team of experts to find ways to hedge such crowding issues, as well as collect more data on crowded housing and its impact on public health. — Kathryn Brenzel