South Bronx Hailed for Economic Growth Despite COVID Pandemic Challenges: Report

ALBANY—The COVID-19 pandemic hit the South Bronx especially hard, but the area’s economy has shown resiliency, according to a report released recently by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“The South Bronx was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but was resilient because of dedicated and hardworking neighborhood groups and advocates, and the strength of its residents,” said Mr. DiNapoli. “Still, the need for more affordable housing, jobs and quality of life improvements remains pivotal to the community’s long-term success.”

Despite the impact of the pandemic, jobs and businesses grew faster in the South Bronx than the rest of the borough and city. This was due in part to community-led investments through the pandemic, stemming from the city’s public-private partnerships to develop commercial, housing and cultural projects. From 2011 to 2022, the South Bronx saw a 25% and 20% increase in jobs and businesses, respectively, led by the health care and social assistance sector. While the area lost 7.7% (6,150) of jobs gained the decade prior due to COVID, the South Bronx added 4,679 jobs in 2022, while new businesses saw an uptick. Federal pandemic assistance helped many South Bronx businesses stay afloat, and in 2022, the area had 78,476 private sector jobs, which accounted for almost one-third of jobs boroughwide.

From 2011 to 2022, the South Bronx saw a 25% and 20% increase in jobs and businesses, respectively, led by the healthcare and social assistance sector.

The South Bronx also saw the median household income rise 30.9%, poverty decline 3.4%, and more people move to the area from 2011 to 2021. According to most economic indicators, the area’s economy has proven more resilient than the borough as a whole following the worst waves of COVID. Still the South Bronx has a higher overall poverty rate (36.3%), a lower median household income ($32,381) and fewer adults who graduate from college (14%) when compared to the borough and city. The pandemic further shined light on systemic health, socioeconomic, and environmental disparities in the area.

Looking ahead, Mr. DiNapoli pointed out that more needs to be done to address the community’s concerns on crime, affordable housing, physical and mental health care, and quality of life. Mr. DiNapoli encourages continued engagement by elected officials to drive investment in the development and revitalization of the South Bronx, warning its economic recovery could otherwise stall.

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