Manhattan, New York, Borough Facts and Higher Education Info

Manhattan is the business, media, publishing and financial capital of the United States and the country's most densely populated county. It has numerous educational institutions offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. Keep reading to learn more about the economy, demographics and schools of Manhattan.

About Manhattan

Manhattan is a borough and an island in New York City. With its 2015 estimated population of approximately 1.6 million, from U.S. census data, Manhattan is the third most-populous borough in the city. However, its total area is only 23 square miles, making it the most densely populated borough of New York City. It is diverse, with ethnic groups ranging from Chinese and African-American to Puerto Rican and Irish. Data from the 2014 U.S. census shows that 18.3% of residents were African American, 12.5% were Asian and 25.9% identified as Hispanic or Latino. Manhattan is usually divided into uptown, midtown and downtown sections. Uptown, next to and above Central Park, is mostly residential, while Midtown is the city's business center and downtown is home to the Financial District and one of the nation's largest Chinatowns.

Manhattan has historically been the major nexus for American arts and culture, with important movements such as Pop Art and the Harlem Renaissance arising from the borough's art scenes. Hundreds of museums, theaters and galleries draw visitors from across the country. The longest north-south thoroughfare, Broadway, runs from Lower Manhattan to the Bronx and features a number of well-regarded theaters as it passes through Midtown. Manhattan's architecture, particularly its Art Deco skyscrapers, such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, are also tourist draws. In recent years, the island has seen increasing gentrification, and many young residents have begun to flee to other, more affordable boroughs such as Brooklyn and Queens.

Higher Education

Manhattan is a major center for higher education. There are well over 200 schools on and around the island. The borough's most well-known institutions of higher learning include New York University (NYU), Columbia University, Barnard College and the Juilliard School. NYU is ranked 32nd among national universities in 2016 rankings by U.S. News & World Report, while Columbia, New York State's oldest university and a member of the Ivy League, is ranked 4th.

CUNY Borough of Manhattan is a large 2-year public school with about 26,600 students. Other CUNY schools in the Manhattan area include Hunter College, Bernard M Baruch College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The Ailey School and the Fashion Institute of Technology are also found here. Fordham University, based in the neighboring borough of the Bronx, maintains a campus in Manhattan.


Manhattan Borough has a high proportion of white-collar jobs. The median household income in the borough was $71,656, according to 2010-2014 census data. Neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side contain some of the wealthiest districts in North America. Manhattan's largest central business district, Midtown, provides jobs for approximately 450,000 workers, while the overall population of the island jumps by more than a million each workday. Important industries include finance, banking, advertising, media, publishing, transportation and trade. Many of the world's largest corporations are based in the borough as is the New York Stock Exchange, which is found in Lower Manhattan.

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