Approximately 8 blocks in length (at its longest) and 9 blocks in width1, the Belmont section of the west Bronx consists of the 10457, 10458, and 10460 zip codes. It is bounded by Fordham Road and Fordham University to the north, Bronx Park to the east, East 183rd Street and St. Barnabas Hospital to the south and 3rd Avenue to the west. 2
Throughout the past century the Belmont has shown constant shift. With a current population of about 24,0003, Belmont population has slowly dwindled from the once more than 50,000 that inhabited the area in the early 1900s.
In the late 1800s, the construction of the Bronx Zoo and Jerome Park Reservoir brought in a wave of Italian artisans and laborers5. For most of the 21st century, Belmont was the center of the Italian population in the Bronx. Much like in Manhattan’s Little Italy4, up to the turn of the millennium, more than 50% of all residents in Belmont were Italians. Recent years, however, has given rise to new residents of other European and Hispanic descent to the area.
Today, Belmont is composed largely of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, African Americans, Italians, Dominicans, and Albanians3. Other ethnic groups making up this population, on a smaller scale, include Asians (mostly Korean) and Jamaican.
As chart 1.1 shows, more than 50% of the population is Hispanic, roughly 25% is white and 15% black alone, while the remaining 5% is Asian or of another ethnic group. NYC data shows that 28.9% of all residents were not born in the U.S or in a foreign state. 14.9% of all residents speak very little or no English. Although the Italian population is no longer dominating the area, Belmont is still considered the “Little Italy” of the Bronx, due to the dominating Italian businesses along the Arthur Avenue area.
Belmont has had a thriving business area, for decades, however, it is still considered one of the poorest communities in New York, with almost half of its population living below the country’s set poverty line. Most of residents in the area, 49.9%, have accomplished less than high school education and 23.9% have attained high school education or the equivalent. 7 Many receive public assistance such as AFDC, SSI, and Medicaid.6 The median Household income has dropped from $19,2337 in the past few years to $18,989, 3 which is significantly lower than the overall Bronx median income of $32,893. 3 Many however, still don’t make it past this annual income and make less than $15,000 a year. 3
Although a majority of the population is made up of 18-24 year-olds, most households consist of families. In the area, most households are of married-couple families with no children (at 25.6%) or single mothers (at 24.5% of all households). 7
The average price of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Belmont is $747, while owning a two bedroom house is about $304,842. The prices are relatively cheap compared to the other areas of the Bronx, or other boroughs because most houses or tenements were built prior to 1939.
The low price of housing, and the very famous Arthur Avenue has attracted new immigrants to the area. Many arrive and stay because of the community that has been formed by these ethnic groups. However, many are leaving the area searching for a more suitable living environment and greater economic opportunity.
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