Borough (New York City)

Borough (New York City)
"Five Boroughs" redirects here. For the Mercian area of this name during the tenth and eleventh centuries, see Five Boroughs of the Danelaw.

New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, is composed of five boroughs. Each borough now has the same boundaries as the county it is in. County governments were dissolved when the city consolidated in 1898, along with all city, town, and village governments within each county. A borough is a unique form of governmental administration for each of the five fundamental constituent parts of the consolidated city. Technically, under New York State Law, a "borough" is a municipal corporation that is created when a county is merged with populated areas within it.[citation needed] It differs significantly from other borough forms of government used in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Alaska, other states, Greater London and elsewhere.



New York's Five Boroughs at a Glance
Jurisdiction Population Land Area
Borough of County estimate for
1 July 2009
1. Manhattan New York 1,629,054 23 59
2. Brooklyn Kings 2,567,098 71 183
3. Queens Queens 2,306,712 109 283
4. The Bronx Bronx 1,397,287 42 109
5. Staten Island Richmond 491,730 58 151
City of New York
8,391,881 303 786
19,541,453 47,214 122,284
Source: United States Census Bureau[1][2][3]
The percentage of New York City population residing in each borough (from bottom to top): 1. Manhattan, 2. Brooklyn, 3. Queens, 4. The Bronx and 5. Staten Island. (Populations before 1898 are for the areas now enclosed in the present boroughs.)

New York City is often referred to collectively as the Five Boroughs; the term is used to refer to New York City as a whole unambiguously, avoiding confusion with any particular borough or with the greater metropolitan area. It is often used by politicians to counter a focus on Manhattan and to place all five boroughs on equal footing. The term Outer Boroughs refers to all the boroughs excluding Manhattan (although the geographic center of the city is along the Brooklyn/Queens border).

Unlike most American cities, which lie within a single county, extend partially into another county, or constitute a county in themselves, each of New York City's five boroughs is coextensive with a county of New York state.

All boroughs were created in 1898 during consolidation, when the city's current boundaries were established. The Borough of Bronx was originally the parts of New York County that had been previously ceded by Westchester County, until Bronx County was created in 1914. The Borough of Queens originally consisted of just the western part of a larger Queens County, until Nassau County was created by the secession from Queens County of the three eastern towns in 1899. The Borough of Staten Island was officially the Borough of Richmond until the name was changed in 1975 to reflect its common appellation.

Each borough is represented by a Borough President and, with the exception of Manhattan, has a borough hall (the same functions, and others, reside in the Manhattan Municipal Building). Since the abolition of the Board of Estimate in 1990 (due to a 1989 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court[4]) the borough president now has minimal executive powers, and there is no legislative function within a borough. Most executive power is exercised by the Mayor of New York City, and legislative functions are the responsibility of the members of the New York City Council. Because they are counties, each borough also elects a District Attorney, as does every other county of the state. Some civil court judges are also elected on a borough-wide basis, although they are generally eligible to serve throughout the city.

The sixth borough

A number of areas near and far have been rhetorically identified as New York City's "sixth borough". Places to which the "sixth borough" appellation have been applied include Newburgh, NY, New Jersey (especially Hudson County, New Jersey[5] or Newark, New Jersey[6]); Nassau County, New York[7]; Philadelphia[8]; South Florida[9] and even Israel.[10] The only proposal to merit any formal consideration was a 1934 bill submitted by a New York City alderman that suggested merging Yonkers into New York City as a sixth borough.[11]


  1. ^ U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Table 5. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Minor Civil Divisions in New York, Listed Alphabetically Within County: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (SUB-EST2009-05-36) and Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places Over 100,000, Ranked by July 1, 2009 Population: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (SUB-EST2009-01), Release Date: June 2010, retrieved on July 31, 2010
  2. ^ County and City Data Book:2007 (U.S. Census Bureau), Table B-1, Area and Population, retrieved on July 12, 2008. New York County (Manhattan) was the nation's densest-populated county, followed by Kings County (Brooklyn), Bronx County, Queens County and San Francisco, California.
  3. ^ American Fact Finder (U.S. Census Bureau): New York by County - Table GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000 Data Set: Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data, retrieved on February 6, 2009
  4. ^ Cornell Law School Supreme Court Collection: Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris, Cornell Law School. Accessed September 11, 2008.
  5. ^ Holusha, John. "Commercial Property / The Jersey Riverfront; On the Hudson's West Bank, Optimistic Developers", The New York Times, October 11, 1998. Accessed May 25, 2007. That simply is out of the question in midtown, he said, adding that some formerly fringe areas in Midtown South that had previously been available were filled up as well. Given that the buildings on the New Jersey waterfront are new and equipped with the latest technology and just a few stops on the PATH trains from Manhattan, they become an attractive alternative. It's the sixth borough, he said.
  6. ^ Vitullo-Marton, Julia. "And the Next ‘Sixth Borough' Is... Newark", The New York Sun, September 28, 2006. Accessed June 19, 2007. " Mr. Banker said he believes the Booker administration wants to create a middle-class residential community downtown. If that happens, Newark may well displace Philadelphia as New York's sixth Borough."
  7. ^ Harris, Seth. "One Problem Equals Many Answers: Dems Fight Illegal Housing in Nassau", Long Island Press, July 20, 2005. Accessed May 25, 2007. "Suozzi agrees that illegal housing is giving areas such as Elmont a city-like atmosphere. “They are turning Hempstead into the sixth borough of New York City,” he says.
  8. ^ Pressler, Jessica, "Philadelphia Story: The Next Borough", New York Times, August 14, 2005. Accessed June 10, 2007.
  9. ^ Reinhard, Beth, "Giuliani returns to the sixth borough", The Miami Herald, November 30, 2007. Accessed October 26, 2009.
  10. ^ Haberman, Clyde. "All Politics Of the Mideast Is Local," The New York Times, March 3, 2006. Accessed May 25, 2007. "WHEN it comes to politics, New York is a six-borough city. Borough No. 6 is what the rest of the world calls the Middle East, specifically Israel and the Palestinian territories."
  11. ^ "ADDING OF YONKERS TO CITY IS SOUGHT; Alderman Jacobs Says He Will Present Bill Seeking Merger as a Sixth Borough.", The New York Times, November 3, 1934. Accessed August 26, 2007. "Merging the city of Yonkers with New York City as a sixth borough was proposed last night by Alderman Elias H. Jacobs, Washington Heights Democrat, who said he would introduce a local bill in the Board of Aldermen branch of the Municipal Assembly at its next meeting on Nov. 13."

See also

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