What Are the Boroughs of New York City?

New York Telescope Over Hudson River
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New York City is one of the largest cities in the world and it is divided into five boroughs. Each borough is also a county within the state of New York. The total population of New York City was
8,622,698 in 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

What Are the Five Boroughs and Counties of NYC?

The boroughs of New York City are as famous as the city itself. While you may be very familiar with the Bronx, Manhattan, and the other boroughs, did you know that each is also a county

The borders that we associate with each of the five boroughs also form the county borders. The boroughs/counties are further divided into 59 community districts and hundreds of neighborhoods.

  • Bronx (Bronx County)
  • Brooklyn (Kings County)
  • Manhattan (New York County)
  • Queens (Queens County)
  • Staten Island (Richmond County)

The Bronx and Bronx County

The Bronx was named for Jonas Bronck, a 17th-century Dutch immigrant. In 1641, Bronck purchased 500 acres of land northeast of Manhattan. By the time the area became part of New York City, people would say they were "going to the Broncks."

The Bronx borders Manhattan on the south and west, with Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, and New Rochelle to its northeast. 

  • Land Area: 42.4 square miles (109.8 square kilometers)
  • Population: 1,471,160 (2017)
  • Community Districts: 12
  • Surrounding Water: Hudson River, Long Island Sound, Harlem River

Brooklyn and Kings County

Brooklyn has the largest population at 2.5 million people according to the 2010 census. The Dutch colonization of what is now New York City played a large role in the area and Brooklyn was named for the town of Breukelen, Netherlands. 

Brooklyn is on the western tip of Long Island, bordering Queens to the northeast. It is surrounded by water on all other sides and is connected to Manhattan by the famous Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Land Area: 71.5 square miles (185 square kilometers)
  • Population: 2,648,771 (2017)
  • Community Districts: 18
  • Surrounding Water: East River, Upper New York Bay, Lower New York Bay, Jamaica Bay

Manhattan and New York County

The name Manhattan has been noted on maps of the area since 1609. It is said to derive from the word Manna-hata, or 'island of many hills' in the native Lenape language. 

Manhattan is the smallest borough at 22.8 square miles (59 square kilometers), but it is also the most densely populated. On the map, it looks like a long sliver of land stretching southwest from the Bronx, between the Hudson and East rivers.

  • Land Area: 22.8 square miles (59 square kilometers)
  • Population: 1,664,727 (2017)
  • Community Districts: 12
  • Surrounding Water: East River, Hudson River, Upper New York Bay, Harlem River

Queens and Queens County

Queens is the largest borough in terms of area at 109.7 square miles (284 square kilometers). It makes up 35% of the city's total area. Queens reportedly received its name from the Queen of England. It was settled by the Dutch in 1635 and became a New York City borough in 1898.

You will find Queens on the western part of Long Island, bordering Brooklyn to the southwest.

  • Land Area: 109.7 square miles (284 square kilometers)
  • Population: 2,358,582 (2017)
  • Community Districts: 14
  • Surrounding Water: East River, Long Island Sound, Jamaica Bay, Atlantic Ocean

Staten Island and Richmond County

Staten Island was apparently a popular name for Dutch explorers when they reached the Americas, though New York City's Staten Island is the most famous. Henry Hudson established a trading post on the island in 1609 and named it Staaten Eylandt after the Dutch Parliament known as Staten-Generaal.

This is the least populated borough of New York City and it is a lone island at the city's southwestern edge. Across the waterway known as the Arthur Kill is the state of New Jersey.

  • Land Area: 58.5 square miles (151.5 square kilometers)
  • Population: 479,458 (2017)
  • Community Districts: 3
  • Surrounding Water: Arthur Kill, Raritan Bay, Lower New York Bay, Upper New York Bay
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Your Citation
Rosenberg, Matt. "What Are the Boroughs of New York City?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/boroughs-of-new-york-city-4071733. Rosenberg, Matt. (2020, August 27). What Are the Boroughs of New York City? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/boroughs-of-new-york-city-4071733 Rosenberg, Matt. "What Are the Boroughs of New York City?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/boroughs-of-new-york-city-4071733 (accessed May 30, 2023).