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The Future of Brooklyn   By:

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DECEMBER 13, 1888.

MAYOR'S OFFICE, } CITY HALL, BROOKLYN, } December 13, 1888 }

To the Honorable, the Common Council :


In this message I shall attempt a general statement of the condition of the city, and of its building operations. For the purpose of broadly considering the city's present condition and standing among similar communities, the returns of the recent Presidential election furnish valuable data. Presidential elections call out a full vote, and thus afford an indication of the relative growth of the different cities of the country. The following table is believed to correctly state the total number of votes cast in the four leading cities for President at the recent election:

Total vote cast in 1888.

New York 270,194 Philadelphia 205,747 Brooklyn 148,868 Chicago 123,475

In 1880 the vote of these several cities in the Presidential election bore the following proportion to the population as shown by the census of the same year:

Number of population to each voter in 1880:

New York 5.87. Philadelphia 4.92. Brooklyn 5.29. Chicago 6.06.

The following table contains the population of each city in 1880, and the apparent population at present, basing the estimate upon the vote of this year, and assuming the ratio of population to the numbers of voters to remain the same as in 1880:

Population Apparent population in 1880. in 1888.

New York, 1,206,299. 1,585,529. Philadelphia, 847,170. 1,014,332. Brooklyn, 566,663. 782,221. Chicago, 503,185. 748,258.

The method of reaching this conclusion cannot be called unduly favorable to our city. The difference in the ratio existing between the population and the voters in 1880 in Chicago and in Brooklyn would seem to indicate either that Chicago possessed an unusually large unnaturalized population, or else that it did not poll its full vote. If the unnaturalized population of our own city is larger than it was in 1880, the above estimate may be too small. If the increase of population since 1880 has been one that brought with it a larger proportion of women and children than the increase before 1880, the above estimate is too small. Whether either of these possible modifications should be given serious consideration is a matter of conjecture upon which some light may be thrown by what will be set forth in this communication.

The twenty six wards now comprising the city of Brooklyn, contained in 1880 a population of 580,313; if, therefore, their present population as above estimated is 782,221, there has been an increase in eight years of 201,903, or an average annual gain for each of those years of 25,237. But the population in 1870 was 396,099, and in 1875, as enumerated by the State Census, it was 484,616, showing a gain for the five years of 87,518, or an average annually of 17,500. Between 1875 and 1880 it rose to 566,663, the total gain for the five years being 82,047, the average annual gain being 16,400. It should, therefore, first be noticed that the rate of increase of the last decade was more rapid during its first half than during its closing half. The present decade began in a period of more moderate growth than that of some years previous. We may, I think, safely assume that the falling off in the gain between 1875 and 1880 was largely due to the opening of the system of elevated roads in New York City in 1878. Making all necessary allowance for the increase due to the Twenty sixth Ward, which was not a part of the city in 1880, it is still impossible to believe that the average annual gain of 16,400 which prevailed from 1875 to 1880 could have been abruptly changed to the average annual gain of 25,237 which has prevailed from 1880 to the present time... Continue reading book >>

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