The outer boroughs are actually MORE crowded than Manhattan, says this counterintuitive map

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It should come as a surprise to approximately no one that New York—and its apartments—are, to put it delicately, a little crowded. (Is anything as fun as watching the horror wash over an out-of-town friend's face when they see your tiny apartment for the first time, and find out how much you pay?)

But just how crowded is it, and what neighborhoods have the closest quarters? StreetEasy has drilled into the data, and interestingly enough, with the exception of Staten Island, the outer boroughs—where so many people go to increase their square footage and decrease their rent bills—are actually more crowded than ever-cramped Manhattan.

First, let's define crowded: StreetEasy's data is based on the U.S. Census Bureau's definition of a "crowded household" as one with more than one person per room (NB: this means every room in the house, not per bedroom), and "severely crowded" households as having more than 1.5 persons per room. To use StreetEasy's example, that means a couple living in a one-bedroom with a living room would be considered "crowded," and if they moved into a studio, "severely crowded."

Based on the 2013 census numbers, 8.9 percent of all NYC households qualified as "crowded" (compared to 2.3 percent nationwide), with higher rates of 12.4 percent in the Bronx, 10.3 percent in Brooklyn, and 9.4 percent in Queens. Manhattan and Staten Island are apparently spacious by comparison, with just 5.4 percent and 3.4 percent of households clocking in as "crowded." 

To drill down further, StreetEasy looked at the most crowded individual neighborhoods, too, and many of the top offenders are actually in Queens, and often in neighborhoods with significant immigrant populations:

Unsurprisingly, their data experts predict the city's crowding will get worse before it gets better, as rents continue to go up while incomes, well, don't. And when it comes to neighborhoods that have seen the biggest increase in crowding over the last few years (even as the city overall gets less crowded, according to the data), a lot of people seem to be doubling up in southern Brooklyn:

All of which is to say that if you go home tonight and get annoyed at your roommate (or roommates) for cramping your style? You're definitely not alone.


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