This paper is a Community Assessment of the South Bronx. The South Bronx is comprised of Bronx Community District 1 which includes Mott Haven, Melrose, and Port Morris.
South Bronx Community Assessment
Community Name & Boundaries/Location
According to the New York Health Community Profile, the South Bronx is comprised of Bronx Community District 1 which includes Mott Haven, Melrose, and Port Morris. The boundaries of District 1 follow the Harlem River; East 149th Street; Park Avenue; East 159th Street; East 161st Street; Prospect Avenue; East 149th Street; and the East River.
The land use lot area of the district is 37,398,400 square feet, covering 1,769.9 acres and 2.8 square miles (2013). The Department of City Planning describes the land uses patterns as consisting of one and two family and multifamily residential properties, mixed residential commercial use, commercial, office, and industrial uses.
Population & Demographics
According to the NYC Community Health Profile of the South Bronx (2018), the population is 98,403. It is 73% Hispanic, 24% Black, 1% White, 1% Asian, and 1% Other. 28% of the population are foreign born and 36% have limited English Proficiency. Language spoken at home by adults over 18 are 33% English only, 60% Spanish, and 4% Other.
The population is made up of mostly 0 – 17 year olds and 25 – 44 year olds at 28% each group. The next common age group is 45 – 64 year olds at 21%.
According to the 2010 census, the distribution of Males and Females in the South Bronx is at 46.9% and 53.1% respectively.
The New York City Department of Education operates district public schools. There are 77 public schools. This includes elementary, middle, high, and special education schools. Three (3) public libraries. Two (2) colleges in the area are Hostos Community College and the College of New Rochelle.
The education levels data provided by the NYC Health Community Profile for the South Bronx (2018) shows that 41% of its population have less than a High School diploma while overall NYC has less than half this amount. 43% of overall NYC are college graduates where only 16% are in the South Bronx.
Employment Levels, Occupations, and Income Levels
The NYC Health Community Profile for the South Bronx, 29% of the population is living in poverty and 20% in NYC overall. Unemployment is at 12% versus 9% in NYC. The data below also shows that 60.4% of the population in the South Bronx are receiving public assistance which is higher than NYC overall at 35.6%.
According to the Office of State Comptroller (2013), the highest salaries in the Bronx are in Construction, Information, and Education Services. The salaries range from approximately $17,000 to $63,000.
In addition, the Office of State Comptroller (2013) reports that a large part of the Bronx population works in Health Care, Social Assistance, and Retail Trade.
Marital Status and Family Composition
According to the 2010 Census data presented by the Department of City Planning, the marital status and family composition of the South Bronx is as follows:
- Family Households 70.6%
- Married Couple Family 22.5%
- With related children under 18 years old 13.6%
- Female householder, no husband present 40.7%
- With related children under 18 years 28.7%
- Male householder, no wife present 7.5%
- With related children under 18 years 3.9%
- Nonfamily Households 29.4%
Married couple families with children was 13.6% in the South Bronx versus 17.0% in NYC overall. The percent of Female householder with no husband present and with children under 18 years old was 28.7% versus 11% in the NYC overall.
Police, EMS, and Fire Services
The 40th New York Policy Department precinct services the South Bronx. There are six (6) fire houses with one (1) EMS station. There is also a juvenile center in the South Bronx that has 129 beds.
In the New York Daily News article (2018), Parascandola writes that The Bronx has the city's second-highest rate of major crimes but has the fewest NYPD surveillance cameras. Citywide there are 2,626 cameras citywide and The Bronx only has 388. Additional cameras are needed to deter further crimes from happening.
The data presented by the New York Times article (2016), the overall Bronx Suicide death rate per 100,000 population was 5.3, 8.4 in NYC, and 13 in the United States.
According to the New York Health Community Profiles of the South Bronx (2018), the rate of non-fatal assault hospitalizations per 100,000 is 180 while the overall Bronx is 115 and NYC is 64.
Small, from DNAInfo (2017) writes that the 40th Precinct, which services the South Bronx, experienced increases in murders, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries and grand larcenies in 2017, and crime overall went up by 14.2 percent.
Adequacy of housing
As reported by the Department of City Planning (2013), multi-family residential buildings make up 23.4% of the land used and 1-2 Family Residential homes make up 6.5%. the South Bronx has one of the highest percentages of homes with maintenance defects in the city, according to the NYC Health Community Profile (2015). Maintenance defects include water leaks, cracks and holes, inadequate heating, presence of mice or rats, toilet breakdowns, and peeling paint. In the 2018 Community Profile, 24% of renter-occupied homes were with no maintenance defect in the South Bronx, 32% in the overall Bronx and 44% in NYC overall.
In the New York Times article (2018), Hu explains that the Catskill and Delaware watersheds, located in upstate New York, provide more than 90% of the New York City’s water supply. The remaining 10% come from the Croton watershed. According to the US Water Alliance (2015), the watersheds are so clean that it makes New York one of the few municipalities not required by law to filter its water (although it is disinfected by UV exposure). However, when distributed, chlorine is used as a disinfectant and aging pipes inside buildings can bring unwanted flavors and potential lead-related health-risks, especially for children. Therefore, although tap water in NYC is legally safe to drink, to be on the safe side, a carbon filter should be used.
Cleanliness of community
The NYC Planning District 1 Profile (2018), reports that 90.3% of streets were rated 'acceptable' on the Street Cleanliness Scorecard in FY 2017, 95.2% in the overall Bronx and 96.0% in NYC.
However, maintaining cleanliness is becoming a problem. The BronxTimes (2018), Wirsing reports that there is growing concern over increasing open-air drug use epidemic. The Hub, the South Bronx’s oldest shopping area, has been home to these users and evidence is found and has led to the unclean appearance of the streets. Cardboard boxes used as homes and bottles of needles has lead protesters to the area demanding a change for The Hub.
Waste Management and Garbage Pick-Up
There are 17 waste management facilities. This includes sanitations garages, solid waste transfer stations, commercial waste garages, and recycling handling and recovery facilities.
The Department of Sanitation has a weekly garbage and recycling pick-up schedule for the South Bronx. Garbage pick-up is three times a week and recycling pick-up is once a week.
Community Government and Leadership
The Bronx District 1, which encompasses Mott Haven, Port Morris, and Melrose is chaired by George Rodriguez. The District Manager is Cedric Loftin. The Board consists of up to 50 volunteer members appointed by the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. in conjunction with the district Council Members. According to their website (2019), Community Board 1 is the local municipal body that acts as an advocate and provides the delivery of city services. It also plays a vital role in improving the quality of life for the residents in the communities. The Board assists residents with inquires and processes their complaints to the appropriate City agency.
The US Water Alliance (2015) explains that as a neighborhood located close to the climate change will increase the severity of hurricanes in the South Bronx. The area is an industrial zone with a high volume of toxic substances making the area extra vulnerable. The organization is now focusing on climate resilience projects to protect the neighborhood against catastrophic flooding.
The major highways in the South Bronx include the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87), Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95), Bruckner Expressway (I-278), Sheridan Expressway (I-895) and RFK Bridge. The New York City Subway train lines that run through the South Bronx include the Local and Express 2, 4, 5, and 6 trains.
For those employed, according to the NYC Planning District 1 Profile (2018), the mean commute to work is 43.0 minutes.
Types of Shopping Centers and Grocery Stores
The NYC Health Community Profile for the South Bronx (2018) reports that the rate of Tobacco Retails per 10,000 in the South Bronx is 16 versus 11 in the overall Bronx and overall NYC. Also, the supermarket square footage per 100 is 133 in the South Bronx versus 155 in the overall Bronx and 177 in overall NYC.
The Hub-Third Avenue Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) is the retail heart of the South Bronx, located where four roads converge: East 149th Street, Willis, Melrose and Third Avenues. The Hub is the oldest major shopping site in the Bronx. Business you will find include Marshalls, Burlington, Rainbow, Petland Discount, boutiques, and electronic stores. There is also an urgent care center located in The Hub. In addition, a fitness center has recently opened.
According to the Daily News (2012), Lestch reported that The Bronx, which tips the scale as the unhealthiest county in New York, is the No. 1 destination for fast-food stores. Fast food chains the South Bronx include McDonalds, Subways, Kennedy Fried Chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Texas Chicken, Wendy’s, Auntie Anne’s, and Dunkin Donuts. In additional there are local pizza, Mexican, Italian, and Chinese restaurants. Fast food chains are inexpensive and quick, and ideal for a lot of working poor and low-income residents.
When it comes to supermarkets and grocery stores, the NYC Health Community Profile (2018) reports that the lowest ratio among NYC community districts is one supermarket for every three bodegas (healthier) and the highest is one supermarket for every 57 bodegas (less healthy). In the South Bronx, for every one supermarket, there are 25 bodegas. Bodegas are places where residents can grab quick food items that may not always be healthy or fresh foods.
Stressors within the community include affordable housing and unemployment. According to the NYC Planning Department (2019), a great need for new affordable housing projects within the South Bronx. There is also a need for businesses to move in and/or current businesses (such as, Bronx Brewery and Fresh Direct) to create employment opportunities for the South Bronx residents.
Level of Health Performance and Health Care Financing
The NYC Health Community Profiles (2018) reports that in the South Bronx, 72% reported their own health as “Excellent,” “Very Good,” or “Good” versus 78% in NYC. It also reports that 14% of the South Bronx did not have health insurance, which is slightly lower than the overall Bronx and NYC. The population that have Medicaid represent 36% of the South Bronx and the overall Bronx and NYC are lower at 30% and 26% respectively.
As presented earlier, 42% of the South Bronx population of adults suffer from obesity versus 24% in NYC and 24% of children in grades K-8 in the South Bronx versus 20% in NYC.
Community Health Nurse Interventions
A major intervention by a Community Health Nurse (CHN) is to raise awareness about the effects of leading an unhealthy lifestyle. Raising awareness can include holding events where people are educated and/or screened on weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, diet and physical activity. This should be offered in multiple languages but primarily in English and Spanish.
The Community Health Nurse can also work with community and government officials to get resources to that will encourage people to be more physically active and chose healthy options when available. The CHN can work to get more farmer’s markets available or work to have bodegas sell fruits and vegetables at affordable prices so that residents that use bodegas as a quick stop shop can choose to purchase these items.
Role of Government, Individual, Families, Health System, and Education Facilities
The CDC (2018) states that the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. Therefore, the government needs to provide the resources to encourage more physical activity and better nutrition as well as making fresh foods and vegetables available and easily accessible. A good option is to offer money to be specifically used at farmer’s markets in the community or to be specifically used to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Currently, this is something offered to those on public assistance. However, this could be offered to those that are unemployed but make too much money to get TANF. This investment now will reduce the larger expense in the long run because it will decrease the number of people that are at risk for or develop obesity in the future.
Individual and families have the responsibility of actually engaging in the physical activity offered and choosing the healthier options when they are shopping. This may place them in a tough position because of their low income. However, a budget class can help people see that if they make better decisions on how they spend the money they have, buying healthier foods will not seem like a financial burden.
Health insurance companies should offer incentives for going to the doctor, going to the gym, offer discounts for a gym membership, getting screenings, etc. I think that in having people go to the doctor it is an opportunity to education them. If they keep hearing the same information, they will chose or at least contemplate making better lifestyle choices given the information they have received.
In education facilities, aside from offering more physical activity classes and ensure that nutritious foods are available for breakfast and lunch, I think that having a school nurse conduct a course on proper nutrition and physical activity consistently at all grade levels would be ideal. Children and adolescents should begin learning and seeing early on about the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. They can carry this information home to their families in addition to apply it to themselves. If, at an early age, a person engages in consistent physical activity and makes healthier choices in their nutrition, they will carry this into adulthood and the risk of obesity would decrease significantly. This causes a domino effect for the population overall because these now adults will teach their children about the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition, and actually lead by example. This lifestyle will then be reinforced by the course offered at school. All this would lead to a decrease in the obsess population in the future.
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- Lestch, C. (2012 Dec 20). The Bronx tips the scale as the fastest-growing fast food locale in the city with more McDonalds, Subway chains. Daily News. Retrieved on January 13, 2019 from https://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/highest-rates-obesity-diabetes-bronx-fastest-growth-fast-food-chains-article-1.1223831
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- BronxTImes. Retrieved January 12, 2019 from https://www.bxtimes.com/stories/2018/42/42-a-hub-2018-10-19-bx.html