Part two – at long last

To all five of my readers, I apologize for taking so long to post part two of the last post. Here it is:

The bigger question, to me at least, is why certain wards were developed and others were left alone.

My first instinct when I saw the census data was to try to figure out if there was any trend, but then I realized that was very difficult based on not knowing the previous boundaries of the wards and how they were expanded or broken up, and through that which wards were really growing and which wards were a product of other ward development and were only created in order to have some sort of “equality”. By this I mean that a certain population was living in a certain proportional square mileage. What then became very helpful was looking at another table that I found that had the number of occupants per square mile (also known as population density, with density being the raw population divided by the space the ward occupied), which I believe to be a much better representation of ward and population growth than the raw ward data that I found in the table 2.

Table 2

chart 2

Now this is all nice and good if you like looking at numbers, but it’s ultimately very difficult to visualize. To combat this, I copied the table into excel and created 3 corresponding graphs, with graph 1 incorporating wards 1 through 7, graph 2 using wards 8 through 15 excluding 12 (which was the upper part of the island so that does not have a good representation here) and graph 3 having the data from wards 16 through 22. Please find these graphs below:

Graph 1

Graph 1

As you can see above, it appears that wards 1-3 and 5 stay relatively constant. One thought as to why that occurs is because these were the original wards in lower Manhattan and once they were occupied they did not really have any other room for growth. Additionally, these wards mostly were inhabited by native New Yorkers, who were a bit elitist and didn’t really allow anyone into their wards. The 4th, 6th and 7th wards all occupied the Lower East Side, which, in my mind, were mostly made up of Irish Catholics and Jews, who lived in very cramped quarters and had lots of children and people living in small apartments (I may be overstating this a bit). However, you may notice that the 6th ward drops off between 1860 and 1870. This can be in response to the 6th ward being chopped in half, creating the 14th ward.

Graph 2

Graph 2

As you can see in this graph, wards 8, 9, 14 and 15 generally had upward trends, but that could mostly be regarded as normal growth. The 11th ward makes a huge jump between 1840 and 1850 and continues the upward trend it set in that decade, which again may have something to do with immigration numbers (I’d be curious to find out more of why this is). The 13th ward is also on the East side, but is smaller in terms of area, but does the same sort of jump that the 11th ward does. Finally, the 10th ward is what I find really interesting. There was a small drop from 1820 to 1830, but that may be attributed to the 13th ward cutting the population and area in half. From 1830 to 1840, this ward makes a huge jump, which again may be because of the Jews and Irish Catholics (and possibly some German immigrants – I don’t really know immigration numbers). From 1840 to 1850, it drops again, to which I have no answer other than the possibility that people began to move north up the Island. Finally, from 1850-1870, we see the steep acceleration of growth that has been seen so frequently in other wards.

Graph 3

graph 3

Finally, in this last graph we see the growth of the newest wards. First notice how the 16th and 17th wards were the only ones that had population data from 1840, and the 17th ward has a crazy population projection. I believe that in later years this tails off, mainly due to a max of the population. All other growth I believe is just a product of more and more people moving into Manhattan, and the only real open space was in the newer, more northern part of the island. Therefore, as time went on, the population would grow in these wards.

Now I realize that this may not be all that satisfying, so in my next few blog posts I will try to analyze the growth based on age in each ward, as well as comparing the growth of each ward to see if certain wards grew much more than others. Finally, I will try to examine if there is any correlation to where churches were located to where people moved, and vice versa (as in where churches were placed according to certain populations).


Ward growth in the early to mid-19th century

My first question for the week was what were the boundaries of the wards in New York City up to 1865 and how did they change overtime.

This past week, my goal had multiple parts. First, I was tasked to find ward boundaries and determine the expansions of each ward, which was then supposed to be analyzed in a number of different ways. Finding the initial raw data was not overly difficult, there were actually a number of sites that had already compiled the census data for each ward starting in 1800. ( Additionally, I found another site that had very nicely arranged all the years that wards were created. (

Finally, based off of an excerpt from an article Professor Roberts sent me, I was able to determine where each ward was formed out of. (Table 1) However, determining the borders throughout this 70 year period was significantly more difficult. The maps that were attainable were mostly from 1860 or later, which meant that they were after the expansion and creation of the 22 wards that we’re looking at. Further, even the maps that are available are not really helpful in determining borders, as they were not very clear. I finally did find one or two maps that were helpful, but they were again from after 1860. Determining the boundaries from before that time was not something that I thought I would have trouble with, yet even after spending multiple hours scouring the internet, the search still has not borne any fruit. This feeling was incredibly frustrating, as we, as a nation and a world as a whole, have come to expect everything to be found on the internet at the push of a button with relative ease. This is, sadly, not the case. There are things that are not so easily accessible and one must really do his or her due diligence to properly perform the task at hand. I have two books that I hope to go through this week that may have a few usable maps in it, but even from what each ward was created out of, I am able to paint a mental picture of how the wards developed.

Now, although this may seem tedious, I will try to explain the ward growth between 1800 and 1860. (Please reference map 1 for a better visual understanding)

In 1803, the Eighth and Ninth ward were created, which mainly encompassed the growth on the lower west side of Manhattan. The ninth ward, to my knowledge, went all the way up to 14th street, but it would appear that the main settled part of the island did not go much north of this.

These first 8 wards, through the further development of the ward system in Manhattan, were mostly immune to having chunks cut out of them and created into other wards, with the exception of the 14th ward, which was created out of the 6th and 8th ward in 1827.

In 1809, the Tenth ward was created, which was expanding the lower east side north until Rivington Street (According to the maps that I was able to find). In 1825, ward expansion really took off, with the creation of the 11th and 12th wards. The 11th ward completed the lower part of the island from Rivington Street up to 14th, while the 12th ward was responsible for the remainder of the island. That being said, when more wards are formed as people began moving north, they are usually taken from the 12th ward.

Also created in 1827 was the 13th ward. This was carved out of the existing 10th ward, from Norfolk Street all the way to the coast. In 1832, the 15th ward was created out of the existing 9th ward, with 6th avenue as the border between them. This would actually remain the dividing line between the east and the west sides as the island developed northwards past 14th street. Finally, the 11th ward was divided in two, creating the 17th ward in 1837. After 1837, south of 14th street the wards remained the same, at least until after our study is over.

Over the course of the next 20 or so years, the island would expand north until the 12th ward only encompassed those streets that were north of 86th street. This occurred first in 1835, when the 16th ward was created from the areas between 14th street and 40th street. In 1846, the 16th ward was split in half at 6th Avenue, creating the 18th ward. From here, the ward development was rapid. In 1850, the 19th ward was created, cordoning off the section between 40th street and 86th street. In 1851, the 20th ward was created when the 16th ward was again divided in two at 26th street. These made up the area on the West side of Manhattan. Finally, in 1853, the 21st ward was created by splitting the 18th ward in two at 26th street, and the 22nd ward was created by dividing the 19th ward in half at 6th Avenue.

Examining this ward growth doesn’t really explain much, but, this growth in conjunction with the numbers based in table 2 paint an interesting picture. Alas, to understand the examination, you, my fine readers, must wait until my next blog post.

Table 1

Ward Date Created 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870
1 4,320 7,941 12,085 11,331 10,629 19,754 17,373 14,463
2 5,167 8,493 8,214 8,203 6,394 6,655 2,507 1,312
3 6,449 7,426 9,201 9,599 14,581 10,355 3,757 3,715
4 6,935 10,226 10,736 12,705 15,770 23,250 21,994 23,748
5 9,148 14,744 12,421 17,722 19,159 22,686 22,337 17,150
6 13,076 11,286 13,309 13,570 17,198 24,698 26,696 21,153
7 1791 15,394 12,120 13,006 15,873 22,982 32,690 39,982 44,818
8 1803 9,128 13,766 20,729 29,073 34,612 39,406 34,913
9 1803 4,719 11,162 17,333 21,795 40,657 44,385 47,609
10 1808 10,890 17,806 16,438 29,026 23,316 29,004 41,431
11 1825 14,918 17,052 43,758 59,571 64,230
12 1827 11,808 11,652 10,451 27,958 47,497
13 1827 12,598 18,517 28,246 32,917 33,364
14 1827 14,288 20,235 25,196 28,080 26,436
15 1832 17,755 22,564 27,587 27,587
16 1836 22,273 52,882 45,176 48,359
17 1837 18,619 43,766 72,953 95,365
18 1846 31,546 57,462 59,593
19 1850 18,465 28,252 86,090
20 1851 67,519 75,407
21 1853 49,017 56,703
22 1853 61,725 71,349
Totals 60,489 96,973 121,706 197,115 312,710 515,547 805,658 942,292

Map 1

map 1\

Map 2

map 2

“An Unbounded Truth” – the unbounded writing and thoughts of Kenneth Scherzer and my thoughts on it

My reading of An Unbounded Community thus far has not been a pleasant one. While he does make an attempt to be organized, the author drastically fails. His writing style is very difficult to read based on his inserting of quotes seemingly every fourth word. Additionally, when he finally did begin to discuss issues that were actually pertinent to the discussion, his numerical charts and explanations of the charts were not clear. I spent probably close to half an hour trying to understand what he was implying, and even then it wasn’t really clear to me. I will have to discuss this with one of my statistics professors and see if they can explain what he’s trying to conclude based on his charts.

Scherzer’s writing style, as a whole, is part of a discussion about how statistics play a role in historical writing. When using statistics for historical writing, is one using the statistics as the basis of the argument or rather using them to support some previous assumption or position? To me it appears that Scherzer is trying to do the later, while I would much more appreciate and support the former idea. This leads to poor structuring of the book, where he tries to incorporate charts and numbers into his position, but does it poorly because they are not organized to be the focal point of his argument. I personally would have structured the book differently to have more organization. Part of the issue is that when using statistics, one must look at the entire picture, not just the four sample wards that he uses for almost all his experiments. Additionally, as I mentioned before, there is an extreme lack of organization within the book, so unless someone really pounds their head over it, they will not truly understand what Scherzer is saying and trying to argue. This will hopefully be contrasted with the work of Rothschild, who will be a better example of historical writing.

Scherzer’s main point in the book is that neighborhoods do not exist, at least within the context of how we understand them. He argues that while certain nationalities and races may polarize towards certain areas, they are not statistically significant. However, the issue with his argument is that he is defining neighborhoods as wards, while there may actually be multiple neighborhoods within a single ward. He also does not seem to care about religious affiliation, but rather about socioeconomic status. I do not believe that this is the proper way to view a neighborhood.

I live in the 50th ward of Chicago. Even within this ward, there is a large Orthodox Jewish population, a large Pakistani population, and a growing Latino population. Each one has carved out their own smallish neighborhood within the ward, but if one were to look at the ward as a whole, none of the populations would be significantly greater than the other (as far as I can tell). That is the issue with Scherzer’s analysis. He is only looking at the ward, instead of the neighborhood inside the ward.

Overall, based on what I have read so far, I have not appreciated with Scherzer’s work nor do I agree with many of his premises. That said, he does make a compelling argument as to how to determine and look at neighborhoods, which I will have to look into further.

Post #1

While many people might not see the connection between history and statistics. This blog will hopefully use a statistical perspective to analyze whether or not churches were specifically placed in different wards in New York between the periods of 1830 and 1870. This process will be an interesting ride and hopefully it bears fruit!