Survey No. 10: WHEN, WHERE AND WHY, 2001 Edition

An enormous surge in the size of The Bronx Board's audience occurred during mid-2000 through mid-2001, and this survey reflected that increase accordingly. about where and when we lived in the Bronx, and when and why we left. Our intention was to allow the latest audience to share this interesting data with us, and share it they did. In ten days, we received 2,764 valid responses, more than seven times as many as we received in our prior survey.

The most prominent change in this new slice of ex-Bronxites is the increasing average age (based on the earlier dates provided). Apparently, more seniors are becoming web savvy and adding their voices to this teen-dominated medium. Not surprisingly, those who lived in the Bronx further in the past (pre-WWII) were most likely to "never love anyplace as much as this...".

The total number of unique, usable responses was 2,764.

The average of the span of years of people living in the Bronx was 1946 through 1971, which we interpret as a reflection of an increase in older folks responding. The first two versions of this survey resulted in an average span of 1949-1971. The earliest year anyone reported living in the Bronx was 1924, and the latest was 1999. The average number of years we lived in the Bronx was significantly higher for this slice of ex-Bronxites at 25.

The longest duration reported was 58 years, from 1938 through 1996, and the shortest duration was 6 years, from 1950 through 1956.

In the neighborhood census, Castle Hill/Parkchester and Fordham were hands-down the best represented slices.

The neighborhood breakdown was as follows:
(Percentages are of all responses)
Baychester/Coop City 14 0.50%
Bronx Park East 81 2.93%
Bronxwood/Gun Hill 86 3.11%
Castle Hill/Parkchester 335 12.11%
City Island 9 0.31%
Crotona 69 2.48%
Fordham 258 9.32%
Highbridge 189 6.83%
The Hub 23 0.83%
Hunt's Point 69 2.48%
Kingsbridge 232 8.39%
Marble Hill
(actually Manhattan)
9 0.31%
Morrisania 180 6.52%
Mosholu/Bedford Hill 163 5.9%
Pelham Parkway 68 2.46%
Reservoir Oval 73 2.64%
Riverdale/Fieldston 43 1.55%
St. Ann's 103 3.73%
Soundview 112 4.04%
Throgs Neck 103 3.73%
Tremont 155 5.59%
University Heights 137 4.97%
Wakefield 57 2.06%
Westchester Heights 11 0.40%
Williamsbridge 81 2.93%
Woodlawn 20 0.72%
Not sure 86 3.11%

How old were you when you left the Bronx?

Younger than 12 43 1.55%
12 - 20 644 23.29%
21 - 30 1,451 52.48%
31 - 40 446 16.15%
41 - 50 120 4.35%
Older than 50 60 2.17%

What were the reasons you left the Bronx?
(Multiple responses were allowed, so the sum of the percentages exceeds 100.)
A Better Life 1,039 38%
Career Opportunities 386 14%
College/Graduate School 155 6%
Crime/Lack of Safety 464 17%
Educational Opportunities (i.e. better schools) 120 4%
Family Obligations (parents/marriage/divorce/etc.) 755 27%
General Deterioration of the Neighborhood 524 19%
Hated City Life 94 3%
Housing Opportunities 489 18%
Just Needed A Change 283 10%
Retirement 26 1%
Other* 369 13%

*We made a mistake this time by omitting "Military Service" as one of the reasons for leaving, and received dozens of responses with this reason written in. As in the previous survey on this topic, several responses indicated "other" reasons that were subsequently moved into one of the above categories, most of which were related to housing opportunities or marital obligations (e.g. "my wife refused to live in the Bronx"). Another large chunk of "Others" were various forms of independence, such as "ran away from home", "left the nest", "went to sow my oats". There were lots of those...

Quite a few "Others" also mentioned the "lure" of other cities, towns and states, including:

When you left the Bronx, were you sure that you'd never live there again?

Yes 1,709 61.8%
No 1,055 38.2%

When you left the Bronx, did you leave behind any family?

Yes 2,405 87%
No 359 13%

Which, if any, of the following expressions would be closest to describing the feeling you had on the day you finally left the Bronx for good?

Good riddance! 129 4.66%
It's been a long time coming! 214 7.76%
So long, I hate to have to leave ya! 953 34.47%
I'll be back... 146 5.28%
I'll never love anyplace more than this... 687 24.84%
None of the above 635 22.98%

Thanks again to those who participated. True to their Bronx heritage, more than 600 people refused to let us put words in their mouths, based on the response to the last question. This was also true last time around. You'd think we'd have learned our lesson by now.

In summary, the larger numbers seem to emphasize the trends that were set in the prior versions of this survey. The enormously skewed response to whether or not we left behind family when we moved from the Bronx is a testament to both the need to move on back then and the desire to reach back now...

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©2001 SofTech Consulting
Chappaqua, N.Y., USA