Inwood is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, at the northern tip of Manhattan Island, in the U.S. state of New York. It is bounded by the Hudson River to the west, Spuyten Duyvil Creek and Marble Hill to the north, the Harlem River to the east, and Washington Heights to the south.
Inwood is physically bounded by the Harlem River to the north and east, and the Hudson River to the west. It extends southward to Fort Tryon Park and alternatively Dyckman Street or Fairview Avenue farther south, depending on the source.
While Inwood is the northernmost neighborhood on the island of Manhattan, it is not the northernmost neighborhood of the entire borough of Manhattan. That distinction is held by Marble Hill, a neighborhood situated just north of Inwood, on what is properly the North American mainland bordering the Bronx. Marble Hill was isolated from Inwood and the rest of Manhattan in 1895 when the route of the Harlem River was altered by the construction of the Harlem River Ship Canal.
Because of its water boundary on three sides, its hilly geography, and its limited local street connections (only Broadway and Fort George Hill connect to the rest of the Manhattan street grid), the neighborhood can feel somewhat physically detached from the rest of the borough. The W.P.A. Guide to New York City, published in the 1930s, described Inwood with “rivers and hills insulate a suburban community that is as separate an entity as any in Manhattan.”
For census purposes, the New York City government classifies Inwood as part of a larger neighborhood tabulation area called Inwood and Marble Hill. Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Inwood and Marble Hill was 46,746, a change of -2,341 (-5%) from the 49,087 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 405.79 acres (164.22 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 115.2 inhabitants per acre (73,700/sq mi; 28,500/km). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 15.1% (7,060) White, 9.1% (4,239) African American, 0.1% (64) Native American, 1.9% (884) Asian, 0% (5) Pacific Islander, 0.4% (179) from other races, and 1% (458) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 72.4% (33,857) of the population.
The entirety of Community District 12, which comprises Inwood and Washington Heights, had 195,830 inhabitants as of NYC Health’s 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 81.4 years. This is about the same as the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods. Most inhabitants are children and middle-aged adults: 33% are between the ages of 25–44, while 25% are between 45–64, and 19% are between 0–17. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 10% and 13% respectively.
As of 2019, the median household income in Community District 12 was $42,000, compared to $73,000 in Manhattan and $53,000 in the entire city. In 2019, an estimated 25% of Inwood and Washington Heights residents lived in poverty, compared to 18% in all of Manhattan and 21% in all of New York City. One in eight residents (12%) were unemployed, compared to 7% in Manhattan and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 53% in Inwood and Washington Heights, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 45% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018, Inwood and Washington Heights are considered to be gentrifying.
The residents of Inwood were substantially of Irish descent for much of the 20th century. The neighborhood exhibited a strong Irish identity with many Irish shops, pubs, and even a Gaelic football field in Inwood Hill Park. The second-largest group during this time was Jewish, an extension of the large Jewish population of Washington Heights. However, in the 1960s through the 1980s, many Irish and Jewish residents moved out to the outer boroughs (for example, Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx) and the suburbs, in a pattern consistent with overall trends in the city at that time. During the same period, there was a rise in the number of Dominican immigrants to the area.
Today, Inwood has a predominantly Dominican population, especially in the areas east of Broadway; it has the highest concentration of residents of Dominican descent in New York City. Hispanic residents make up 74 percent of Inwood’s population as a whole, according to census data. Nearly half of the residents were born outside the US. A few of Irish descent remain in the blocks near the Church of the Good Shepherd at Isham Street, though even its Mass services are now offered in Spanish nearly as often as in English. The YMHA remains, but the former synagogues have now been converted to churches and other uses.