Queens is a borough of New York City, coterminous with Queens County, in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest borough geographically and is adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn at the southwestern end of Long Island. To its east is Nassau County. Queens also shares water borders with the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. The borough of Queens is the second largest in population (after Brooklyn), with an estimated 2,358,582 residents in 2017, approximately 48 percent of them foreign-born. Queens County also is the second most populous county in the U.S. state of New York, behind Brooklyn, which is coterminous with Kings County. Queens is the fourth most densely populated county among New York City’s boroughs, as well as in the United States. If each of New York City’s boroughs were an independent city, Queens would be the nation’s fourth most populous, after Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brooklyn. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.
Queens is located on the far western portion of geographic Long Island and includes a few smaller islands, most of which are in Jamaica Bay, forming part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, which in turn is one of the National Parks of New York Harbor. According to the United States Census Bureau, Queens County has a total area of 178 square miles (460 km), of which 109 square miles (280 km) is land and 70 square miles (180 km) (39%) is water.
Brooklyn, the only other New York City borough on geographic Long Island, lies just south and west of Queens, with Newtown Creek, an estuary that flows into the East River, forming part of the border. To the west and north is the East River, across which is Manhattan to the west and The Bronx to the north. Nassau County is east of Queens on Long Island. Staten Island is southwest of Brooklyn, and shares only a 3-mile-long water border (in the Outer Bay) with Queens. North of Queens are Flushing Bay and the Flushing River, connecting to the East River. The East River opens into Long Island Sound. The midsection of Queens is crossed by the Long Island straddling terminal moraine created by the Wisconsin Glacier. The Rockaway Peninsula, the southernmost part of all of Long Island, sits between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, featuring 7 miles (11 km) of beaches.
In the 2010 United States Census, Queens recorded a population of 2,230,722. There were 780,117 households enumerated, with an average of 2.82 persons per household. The population density was 20,465.3 inhabitants per square mile (7,966.9/km). There were 835,127 housing units at an average density of 7,661.7 per square mile (2,982.6/km). The racial makeup of the county was 39.7% White, 19.1% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 22.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 12.9% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. 27.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The non-Hispanic/Latino white population was 27.6%.
The New York City Department of City Planning was alarmed by the negligible reported increase in population between 2000 and 2010. Areas with high proportions of immigrants and undocumented aliens are traditionally undercounted for a variety of reasons, often based on a mistrust of government officials or an unwillingness to be identified. In many cases, counts of vacant apartment units did not match data from local surveys and reports from property owners.
As of 2018, the population of Queens was estimated by the United States Census Bureau to have increased to 2,278,906, a rise of 2.2%. Queens’ estimated population represented 27.1% of New York City’s population of 8,398,748; 29.6% of Long Island’s population of 7,701,172; and 11.7% of New York State’s population of 19,542,209. There are 865,878 housing units, and 777,904 households, 2.97 persons per household, and a median value of $481,300. There is an owner occupancy rate of 44.5.
In Queens, residents consist of 6.2% under 5, 13.9% 6-18, 64.2% 19-64, and 15.7% over 65. Females made up 51.5% of the population. 47.5% of residents are foreign-born.
The per capita income was $28,814, and median household income was $62,008. 12.2% of residents lived below the poverty line.
According to a 2001 Claritas study, Queens was the most diverse county in the United States among counties of 100,000+ population. A 2014 analysis by The Atlantic found Queens County to be the 3rd most racially diverse county-equivalent in the United States—behind Aleutians West Census Area and Aleutians East Borough in Alaska—as well as the most diverse county in New York. In Queens, approximately 48.5% of the population was foreign born as of 2010. Within the foreign born population, 49.5% were born in Latin America, 33.5% in Asia, 14.8% in Europe, 1.8% in Africa, and 0.4% in North America. Roughly 2.1% of the population was born in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, or abroad to American parents. In addition, 51.2% of the population was born in the United States. Approximately 44.2% of the population over 5 years of age speak English at home; 23.8% speak Spanish at home. Also, 16.8% of the populace speak other Indo-European languages at home. Another 13.5% speak a non-Indo-European Asian language or language of the Pacific Islands at home.
Among the Asian population, people of Chinese ethnicity make up the largest ethnic group at 10.2% of Queens’ population, with about 237,484 people; the other East and Southeast Asian groups are: Koreans (2.9%), Filipinos (1.7%), Japanese (0.3%), Thais (0.2%), Vietnamese (0.2%), and Indonesians and Burmese both make up 0.1% of the population. People of South Asian descent make up 7.8% of Queens’ population: Indians (5.3%), Bangladeshi (1.5%), Pakistanis (0.7%), and Nepali (0.2%).
Among the Hispanic population, Puerto Ricans make up the largest ethnic group at 4.6%, next to Mexicans, who make up 4.2% of the population, and Dominicans at 3.9%. Central Americans make up 2.4% and are mostly Salvadorans. South Americans constitute 9.6% of Queens’s population, mainly of Ecuadorian (4.4%) and Colombian descent (3.2%).
Some main European ancestries in Queens as of 2000 include:
The Hispanic or Latino population increased by 61% to 597,773 between 1990 and 2006 and now accounts for 26.5% of the borough’s population. Queens is now home to hundreds of thousands of Latinos and Hispanics:
Queens is home to 49.6% of the city’s Asian population. Among the five boroughs, Queens has the largest population of Chinese, Indian, Korean, Filipino, Bangladeshi and Pakistani Americans. Queens has the largest Asian American population by county outside the Western United States; according to the 2006 American Community Survey, Queens ranks fifth among US counties with 477,772 (21.18%) Asian Americans, behind Los Angeles County, California, Honolulu County, Hawaii, Santa Clara County, California, and Orange County, California.
The borough is also home to one of the highest concentrations of Indian Americans in the nation, with an estimated population of 144,896 in 2014 (6.24% of the 2014 borough population), as well as Pakistani Americans, who number at 15,604. Queens has the second largest Sikh population in the nation after California.
In 2010, Queens held a disproportionate share of several Asian communities within New York City, relative to its overall population, as follows:
Queens has the third largest Bosnian population in the United States behind only St. Louis and Chicago, numbering more than 15,000.
The Jewish Community Study of New York 2011, sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York, found that about 9% of Queens residents were Jews. In 2011, there were about 198,000 Jews in Queens, making it home to about 13% of all people in Jewish households in the eight-county area consisting of the Five Boroughs and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties. Russian-speaking Jews make up 28% of the Jewish population in Queens, the largest in any of the eight counties.
In Queens, the black population earns more than whites on average.
Many of these African Americans live in quiet, middle class suburban neighborhoods near the Nassau County border, such as Laurelton and Cambria Heights which have large black populations whose family income is higher than average. The migration of European Americans from parts of Queens has been long ongoing with departures from Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Bellerose, Floral Park, and Flushing (most of the outgoing population has been replaced with Asian Americans). Neighborhoods such as Whitestone, College Point, North Flushing, Auburndale, Bayside, Middle Village, and Douglaston–Little Neck have not had a substantial exodus of white residents, but have seen an increase of Asian population, mostly Chinese and Korean. Queens has experienced a real estate boom making most of its neighborhoods desirable for people who want to reside near Manhattan but in a less urban setting.