Archive for the tag 'demographics'

Assemblyman Alan Maisel (center) via assembly.state.ny.us

Earlier in the month we reported on Assemblyman Alan Maisel’s quest to fill Lew Fidler’s City Council seat. Though the geographic area he’s looking to represent nearly mirrors Fidler’s, geographic changes from when the incumbent first took office in the 46th District make it a very different place, according to analysis by Barkan Report.

When Fidler began his representation of the 46th District in 2002, it was 53 percent white and 33 percent black. With the latest round of redistricting, which saw the addition of parts of Canarsie and Flatlands, the percentages of white and black have flip-flopped with blacks representing 53 percent and whites 32.

That’s thought to give a boost to his primary opponent, Mercedes Naricisse, a Haitian-American candidate. Despite better fundraising and political connections in the Maisel camp, Barkan suggests race politics could be a greater deciding factor in the fight for the 46th.

Still, the Barkan Report says Maisel is the favorite to win – but November is a long way away.

Mosque construction in February. Photo by nolastname.

Voices of NY article reveals a major change in local demographics within the next 30 years.

It states:

According to the Faiths and Freedom Project for Religious Diversity of CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, ‘Within 20 to 30 years the Russian Jewish – or WWII generation – will have lost its dominant status as a majority in Brighton Beach.’

The article goes on to highlight the demographic change from the Russian-Jewish population to a Pakistani-Muslim majority.

The influx that started in the 90′s is poised to grow. A 2000 U.S. Census counted 960 Pakistanis in the neighborhood. Ten years later, the population increased to 1,901, which is a 98 percent increase.

“When I came here 23 years [ago], there were very few Pakistani people and no mosques,” said Abdul R. Bhatti, in the article. “Now there are three mosques – a Pakistani one, a Lebanese and a Turkic.”

Local leaders state that they are working hard to build bridges between the two communities.

“We have worked hard to develop stronger relations with the other communities of Brighton Beach,” said Susan Fox, executive director of the Shorefront YM-YWHA.

Fox said the Shorefront YM-YWHA had a lot of connection to the Russian-speaking community and knew how to reach out to the Latino population, but had little experience with the Pakistani community, which is concentrated around Neptune Avenue. Thus one of the organization’s main priorities is to establish relations with the Muslim population and help as many people as possible.

“We have no problems with the other people here,” said Rasid Tauquir, a Pakistani resident. “We all live here – together.”

Now would someone tell these people?

It might seem obvious to those of us that live in Brooklyn’s southern stretches, but research has confirmed it: New York is populated by more Russian Jews than any other place in the world. But putting a number on that population – here and in the country as a whole – remains an elusive task.

Harvard University recently hosted a conference to examine issues of Russian-speaking Jewry, but the event appears to have led to more academic squabbling than certainty.

Some speakers at the event claimed that the nation was home to as many as 800,000 Russian-speaking Jews, while others put it at less than 500,000.

“By any account, the number of Russian-speaking Jews in the United States now probably exceeds those of Russia and Ukraine combined,” said Sam Kliger director of Russian community affairs at the American Jewish Committee. Kliger believes previous studies underestimated the population. “New York today is populated by more Russian Jews than any other place in the world.”

Keep reading, and weigh in on what it means to be a Russian-speaking Jew.