Discover the 5 Poorest Neighborhoods in Queens County, New York

Queens County, situated as one of New York City’s five boroughs and being the largest in terms of area, boasts a population exceeding 2.2 million residents, securing its place as the second-most populous county in the state. What distinguishes Queens is its remarkable diversity, housing individuals from over 100 countries who converse in more than 130 languages.

Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that prosperity does not uniformly extend across all neighborhoods in Queens. As reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2022 poverty rate in Queens County stood at 13.5%, marginally lower than the state’s average of 13.9%. Nevertheless, certain neighborhoods in Queens are confronted with elevated levels of poverty, unemployment, crime, and other societal issues.

In this article, we will delve into the five most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Queens County, drawing upon factors like median household income, poverty rates, and various indicators. These neighborhoods are:

1. The Hole

The Hole, a diminutive neighborhood straddling the border of Queens and Brooklyn, derives its name from its low-lying terrain, making it susceptible to flooding and sewage problems. The Hole holds a history of being a dumping ground for waste and illicit activities conducted by organized crime syndicates.

The Hole stands out as one of Queens’ most impoverished and secluded neighborhoods. Census data from 2019 indicates a median household income of just $26,250, less than half the county median of $68,992. The poverty rate in The Hole soared to 39.6%, nearly three times higher than the county average of 13.5%. Furthermore, the unemployment rate in The Hole reached 16.7%, more than double the county’s 7.8% average.

The neighborhood also grapples with substandard infrastructure, limited public services, and environmental hazards. Sidewalks, sewers, street lights, and public transportation are notably absent. Residents rely on septic tanks and wells for water and sanitation, systems that frequently malfunction, leading to overflows. The neighborhood also contends with contamination from nearby toxic Superfund sites.

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2. South Jamaica

South Jamaica, a sprawling neighborhood in the southeastern part of Queens, is part of the historic Jamaica area that once thrived as a cultural and musical hub for the African American community. It boasts a legacy as the birthplace of hip hop icons such as Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, and 50 Cent.

Nonetheless, South Jamaica confronts a multitude of challenges, including poverty, crime, and violence. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2019, the median household income in South Jamaica stood at a modest $40,498, significantly below the county median of $68,992. The poverty rate in South Jamaica climbed to 23%, nearly twice the county average of 13.5%, while the unemployment rate reached 11%, surpassing the county’s 7.8% average.

South Jamaica also contends with its reputation as one of Queens’ most perilous neighborhoods. According to NYPD statistics, 2020 saw 1,026 violent crimes reported in South Jamaica, encompassing 19 homicides, 48 rapes, 362 robberies, and 597 felony assaults. The neighborhood also grapples with heightened gang activity and drug trade.

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3. Far Rockaway

Nestled on the eastern edge of the Rockaway Peninsula in southern Queens, Far Rockaway features a diverse populace, including African Americans, Hispanics, Jews, and immigrants from various corners of the globe.

However, Far Rockaway is acknowledged as one of Queens’ most destitute and overlooked neighborhoods. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2019 reveals a median household income of $43,371, notably lower than the county median of $68,992. The poverty rate in Far Rockaway surged to 25%, nearly double the county average of 13.5%, and the unemployment rate reached 12%, exceeding the county’s 7.8% average.

The neighborhood also contends with deteriorating housing, insufficient resources, and natural disasters. Dilapidated buildings, crowded apartments, and homeless shelters are commonplace. Furthermore, Far Rockaway faces challenges in accessing healthcare, education, recreational facilities, and grocery stores, a situation exacerbated by the lingering impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

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4. Corona

Located in north-central Queens, adjacent to Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Corona boasts a substantial Hispanic population hailing from Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. The neighborhood also stands as the former residence of jazz legend Louis Armstrong.

Corona, however, grapples with high levels of overcrowding and poverty. The U.S. Census Bureau reported a median household income of $46,479 in 2019, below the county median of $68,992. The poverty rate in Corona reached 21%, exceeding the county average of 13.5%, while the unemployment rate hit 9%, surpassing the county’s 7.8% average.

Additionally, Corona contends with a high population density, subpar housing conditions, and a paucity of open spaces. The neighborhood’s population density averages 51,000 individuals per square mile, more than twice the county average of 21,000. A substantial number of aging buildings, illegal conversions, and fire hazards also characterize the neighborhood. Access to parks, playgrounds, and green areas remains limited.

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5. Elmhurst

Elmhurst, located in west-central Queens, emerges as one of the city’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods, with residents hailing from China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, and numerous other nations. The neighborhood boasts a vibrant commercial and cultural scene.

Despite its diversity, Elmhurst contends with high population density, housing affordability challenges, and severe traffic congestion. U.S. Census Bureau data for 2019 reveals a median household income of $47,902, trailing the county median of $68,992. The poverty rate in Elmhurst reached 20%, surpassing the county’s 13.5% average, with an unemployment rate of 8%, slightly exceeding the county’s 7.8% average.

Elmhurst experiences a population density of 44,000 individuals per square mile, more than double the county average of 21,000. Homeownership rates lag at 23%, compared to the county’s 45% average, while vehicle ownership stands at 64%, exceeding the county’s 54% average, contributing to frequent gridlocks and pollution.

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In Conclusion:

These neighborhoods in Queens County, New York, stand out as some of the most economically challenged in 2023. They grapple with a myriad of issues including low incomes, elevated poverty rates, inadequate infrastructure, limited services, and social problems.

Nevertheless, they also possess unique strengths rooted in their diversity, cultural heritage, historical significance, and resilience. These neighborhoods merit increased attention and support from both the government and society at large to enhance their living conditions and opportunities.

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