Press Release

Report Finds Ten Percent of Low-Income and Immigrant New Yorkers Live in Census Tracts with High Flood Risk and High Concentrations of Basement Apartments

May 22, 2024

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released “Flood Risk and Basement Housing in New York City: The Impact of Extreme Weather on Vulnerable Housing Stock.” The report finds that approximately 10% of low-income and immigrant New Yorkers live in census tracts with basement apartments that are at high risk of flooding.

The report finds that the highest flood risk to basement housing is concentrated in south and east Brooklyn, south Queens, the east coast of Staten Island, and the East Bronx. The census tracts with the highest flood risk overall for low-income renters include the same areas, as well as East Harlem and the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

“The confluence of extreme weather, severe housing shortages, and public safety means it is increasingly important to understand which neighborhoods’ basement apartments are at risk,” said report author Ambika Nair, a community development research analyst at the New York Fed.

The authors find that 40% of low-and moderate-income and immigrant New Yorkers live in areas that are at low risk of future flooding but may face gentrification pressures as nearby neighborhoods contend with the possibility of more frequent floods.

The report, which builds on earlier New York Fed research, follows the release of a separate white paper on the impact of flooding on New Yorkers’ household finances.

The new report includes detailed maps showing both flood risk and flood depth in New York City. The maps also highlight areas with higher flood risk and higher shares of low- and moderate-income renters.

The report was developed as part of the New York Fed's Community Development efforts, which have three areas of focus: health, household financial well-being, and climate risk.

Ellen Simon
(347) 978-3036
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