Astoria, New York
Astoria, New York is known as one of the most diverse areas in the USA. New York is the classic city of immigration and, as the country’s foremost port of entry, has historically received several waves of newcomers. With a population of just over 8 million, foreign-born residents comprise 36% of the city. New York City’s foreign-born population has doubled in the past thirty years. In addition, groups are coming from places whence they had never come before. Breaking from the pattern of successive waves from different places (Ireland, Italy, Blacks from the southern USA, Mexico, etc.), extraordinary diversity is the hallmark of contemporary immigration to New York. It is often said that today, virtually every country in the world is represented by recent migrants to the city. In addition to diversified places of origin, there has been an increased heterogeneity of human capital, occupational and class backgrounds, indicative of differing migration processes, channels, legal statuses and transnational practices. For instance, women outnumber men in nearly all foreign-born groups (with important exceptions including Mexicans and Bangladeshis, among whom there are far more men).
Each Borough of New York has a unique mix of old and new diversities. Queens is one of the most renowned, where 46% of one million people are foreign-born. Emblematic of diversification in the city as a whole, the foreign-born population of Queens increased 6.3% between 2000 and 2006, comprising a wide array of countries of origin with no group dominating. The site for GLOBALDIVERCITIES project research is the Queens’ district of Astoria. Here, within the 2008 total population estimate of 211,220, over 46% are foreign born. In Astoria, the largest country of birth cohort is Greece (9.8%), followed by Bangladesh (7.8%), Ecuador (7.4%), Mexico (7.3%), Colombia (5.7%), Italy (5.1%), Dominican Republic (3.7%), Brazil (3.7%), China (3.4%), and India (2.9%); the rest – no less than 43.1% – is comprised of smaller cohorts from all over the world. Field sites importantly focus on key public spaces including commercial streets such as 23rd Street, Athens Park, and Three Coves Community Gardens.