October 13, 2021

Center for Law and Social Justice Releases Report Detailing NYC’s Communities of African Descent


Contact: Imani Dawson | TCC Media | 646-389-9520 | idawson@clsj.org

Center for Law and Social Justice Releases Report Detailing NYC’s Communities of African Descent

CLSJ report illuminates trends and movement of NYC Black population 

NEW YORK CITY, NY October 13, 2021– Today, the Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) released People of African Descent in NYC: Communities of Interest, a report that examines Black communities across New York City and challenges the belief that NYC’s Black population of Black people is decreasing. Currently, the Census miscategorizes racial and ethnic identities, thus providing an incomplete snapshot of the population. In this report, CLSJ analyzes data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to accurately depict the Black population in NYC.

The People of African Descent in NYC: Communities of Interest report identifies where people of African descent live throughout New York City. It details increases, declines, population shifts, and swaps and notes increases of people of African descent in non-traditional NYC neighborhoods. The report also provides much-needed nuance by exploring the complications with how the government identifies African-descended people and how this has given the impression that the Black population in NYC has decreased. 

Key findings from the report include: 

  • An increase in the African American population of NYC
  • A decrease in the Caribbean/West Indian population of NYC
  • An increase in African descendant population in the Bronx
  • An overall increase in the African descendant population in NYC

“This report provides critical analysis on areas where our communities of interest have strengthened and as a result makes a powerful case for redistricting,” says Dr. Zulema Blair, CLSJ Redistricting Research Director.  “New York City’s Black population has grown in the last decade and this data should be used as the foundation for mapping African descendant communities of interest to ensure that the newly created districts accurately reflect our political voice, growth, and interests.” 

An accurate count is vital for all United States residents, especially underserved and marginalized communities. In 2022, New York will lose a congressional seat and will have to redraw district lines, which can impact these communities the hardest. The report argues that correctly identifying ethnic groups is crucial for classifying Communities of Interest (COI), which informs how people of African descent are counted and grouped into legislative districts. Misrepresentation can also impede the city’s ability to provide residents with resources like affordable housing, quality education, adequate health care, and more.

“Regardless of how many New Yorkers of African descent are registered to vote, regardless of how many turn out to vote, when electoral district lines in communities of African descent are not equitably drawn, those communities risk losing political power,” says Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., CLSJ Interim Executive Director, “the information provided in this report clearly illustrates the need for a deeper understanding of Black communities in NYC and a renewed commitment to ensuring that they receive their fair share of representation at all government levels. We aim for this report to aid advocates as they navigate the Redistricting process on behalf of communities of interest of people of African descent.”

CLSJ encourages New York political leaders and agencies to use the framework laid out in this report to inform their decision-making regarding the future of NYC.


CLSJ’s mission is to address racial justice issues by providing quality legal advocacy, conducting community education campaigns, facilitating research, and building organizing capacity on behalf of New Yorkers of African descent and the disenfranchised through advocacy projects and litigation, research, and community education and training in order to promote human, national, and international understanding.

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