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In recent decades skyrocketing real estate values throughout New York City have prompted residents to seek out reasonably priced housing and speculative investment opportunities in traditionally poorer neighborhoods. This is commonly referred to as “gentrification."

This report examines the extent of gentrification in the South Bronx neighborhoods of Melrose, Mott Haven, and Port Morris – officially designated Bronx Community District #1 – widely known as one of New York City’s prominent Latino areas. It presents key socioeconomic and demographic trends between 1990 and 2017. It also looks at topics such as employment, income structures, poverty rates, language acquisition, race/ethnicity, citizenship rates, and educational attainment.


The findings reported here are based on data collected by the Census Bureau IPUMS (Integrated Public Use Microdata Series), available at for the corresponding years and the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This report analyzes data from PUMAS 05001 (1990) and 03170 (2000/2010/2017) in The Bronx. In this report ancestry is defined by the respondent’s self-reported ancestry and Latino group.


The findings do not align with the traditional gentrification narrative. There has certainly been a slight increase in the number of wealthy non-Hispanic whites over the last two decades, however, the Latino community has remained the dominant demographic in both the total number and in the percent of the total population. There has been in increase in educational attainment, though poverty rates remain high and employment/income both remain comparatively low. The most significant change is the extent to which the Latino community has grown much more diverse as the once overwhelmingly Puerto Rican district now has large Mexican and Dominican contingents, along with a smaller group of Ecuadorians. Several potential areas of research are suggested.


For additional information you may contact the Center at 212-817-8438 or by e-mail at

Citation information: Capello, Lawrence (2020). Gentrification & The South Bronx: Demographic and Socioeconomic Transformations in Bronx Community District #1. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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