If Downtown seems jammed by day, but sparsely peopled after the sun goes down, you’re not imagining things. A new data visualization tool shows that Lower Manhattan experiences the second biggest differential between day and night populations of any neighborhood in Manhattan — and, by extension, of any location in America.
“Manhattan Population Explorer,” an interactive, online map — created by New York-based data scientist Justin Fung, who specializes in spatial analytics programs — tracks the change in population for every part of Manhattan on a block-by-block basis, graphing the difference between the daytime tally of employees, students, tourists, business travelers, and others, versus the residential headcount, in the evening.
The map divides Lower Manhattan into a pair of districts: one comprised of Battery Park City, the Financial District, and the South Street Seaport; the other covering Tribeca, Soho, and Little Italy.
The first of these has an evening population of 50,146, which swells to 223,000 by the middle of the day on Wednesday — a 448 percent increase. The Tribeca-Soho-Little Italy catchment logs a nighttime census of 59,841, which leaps to 264,000 by Wednesday afternoon — a 475 percent increase.
The only other area of Manhattan that shows a larger gain is the combined Midtown and Midtown South district, which inflates from a nighttime population of 61,707 to a Wednesday peak of 679,000, representing an expansion of 1,799 percent.
On Monday, at 1:00 am, the same neighborhoods drop to a combined population of just over 100,000 people. This daily 79 percent dip makes Downtown the second-heaviest swing district in America.
This means that Lower Manhattan experiences much more pronounced daily swings than Manhattan as a whole, where the evening population is approximately 1.6 million, but climbs to 3.94 million people during the middle of a typical workday (a rise of 146 percent), according to a separate report, “The Dynamic Population of Manhattan,” published by New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service in 2012. This report also indicates that the island’s peak, daytime population consists of 1.46 million local residents (this component of the count declines slightly each day as some 130,000 Manhattan residents “reverse commute” elsewhere for work), approximately 1.61 million inbound commuting workers, 404,000 out-of-town visitors, 374,000 local day-trip visitors, 17,000 hospital patients, and 70,000 commuting students.
The Wagner report also notes that, “Manhattan has the greatest increase in population during the day among all U.S. counties or administrative equivalents, and the highest ratio between day and night population.” (The distant number-two designation is held by Washington, D.C., where the daily influx of workers bumps the population from 558,000 to a total of slightly more than one million, amounting to an increase of less than 100 percent.)
It thus follows that Lower Manhattan undergoes the second largest such fluctuation of any community in the United States. All of which could mean that Downtown’s future may look a lot like Midtown’s present. As the local residential population continues to swell, and more large firms sign leases for headquarters spaces south of Canal Street, the shoulder-rubbing intimacy of the streetscape seems likely to squeeze residents into an embrace that will grow tighter with each passing year.
To browse the Manhattan Population Explorer, please visit: manpopex.us