Don’t call it a comeback.
Manhattan has more than recovered since its population plummeted in the early days of COVID-19, according to a new post-pandemic migration study from Placer.ai.
From February to April 2020, the municipality’s population declined by 8.1% — undermining its status as a major world economic and cultural center.
But as New Yorkers learn time and time again, you should never underestimate the Big Apple. With its social scenes and employment prospects in full swing, Manhattan now has more residents than it did before the pandemic, with nearly 4% population growth from January 2018 to October 2022.
Newcomers have also driven up rents. The Manhattan median reached $4,200 in November, up 24% from 2021, according to Corcoran data. Sales prices cooled 8% from the third quarter to the fourth quarter, with the median falling slightly to $1.1 million, the brokerage also reported.
The report’s authors say the rapid recovery is a testament to the city’s resilience in times of crisis.
“The recovery of retail and office space in New York is a testament to the unique environment that can only be found there,” said Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing at Placer.ai. “While there are areas that have been hit harder, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where we don’t see an equally strong recovery over time.”
Indeed, municipalities are still a bit sleepy. Brooklyn has pockets of revival, but they have yet to experience the influx of Manhattan as a whole. Between January 2018 and October 2022, the population fell by 4.5% in the Bronx, 4.6% in Brooklyn, 5.8% in Queens and by more than 7.1% in Staten Island, it said in the report.
So which Manhattan neighborhoods are the hottest in our new, post-pandemic normal? Topping the list is the Upper West Side, which saw a 30% increase in population between November 2019 and October 2022. Next came the East Village/Grammerci and the area around City Hall, all hovering around 25% during the same time span.
In Brooklyn, while most of the southern half of the borough continues to experience decline, Coney Island’s population grew by 6% during that nearly three-year period.
Not surprisingly, major downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg are close behind at about 5% and 3%, respectively. Places like Prospect Heights, Bed-Stuy and Greenpoint, which aren’t quite as trendy but are still a quick drive from Manhattan, are growing at about 2%.