A Changing Region

Greater New Haven is undergoing rapid demographic changes. Urban areas are becoming more populated, and diversity is rising in the inner ring towns. The population over the age of 65 is the fastest growing demographic group for most of the region. Adapting to these changes and taking advantage of the new opportunities they present is critical for the region to remain competitive.

A Return to the City

At a time when Connecticut’s population is staying flat, New Haven continues to reverse a decades-long decline. Since 2000, the city’s population has grown by 6% to more than 130,000, adding more residents than nearly any other town in Connecticut, and thousands of new apartments are being added to the city’s downtown area.

Increasing Diversity and Immigration

Greater New Haven’s diversity is its strength. One in 8 residents in the region is foreign-born, coming from 120 different countries. They contribute millions of dollars to the economy and rich cultural traditions. In addition, recent foreign immigrants are the primary source of population growth.

Compared to most metropolitan areas, Greater New Haven has a higher population of middle class families. A "middle class" income is three times the Federal Poverty Level, or $70,650 for a family of four.

Income Inequality

The number of Greater New Haven residents living in middle class neighborhoods—those with average incomes similar to the state—has been shrinking. Meanwhile, the populations of affluent and poor neighborhoods have more than doubled since 1980.

Increasing Diversity and Immigration

Greater New Haven residents are as diverse as the nation as a whole: 1 in 3 (161,000 people) now identify as a race or ethnicity other than White, up from 1 in 5 (91,000 people) in 1990. But residential segregation, while similar to other Northeastern urban areas, is still high and exacerbates the "achievement gap" in educational outcomes.

Yet, Greater New Haven is also affected by income inequality, which nationally is now at its highest level since 1917. One in ten residents in our region, including one in four in New Haven is living in poverty.

Excerpted from The Community Progress Report (2016)