NYC Senior Population Largely Made Up Of Immigrants, Study Finds

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    “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” These words have been the first to meet the ears of American immigrants since the 1800s. And now, for the first since 1945, New York City’s golden door is housing a senior population of which 49.5% are immigrants.

    A study conducted by the Center for an Urban Future found that the population of seniors in New York City is predominantly made up of the swell of immigration from the years since 1965. This means that of the immigrants who came to the United States, those who settled down in New York City have grown old here. However, many of those who immigrated to the United States who are now elderly citizens are living in poverty.

    Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, or NORCs, have been created as a means to combat that poverty. Because seniors who were born in the United States tend to have a wider range of support from organizations who are better funded, NORCs are typically funded by the city in order to provide the senior citizens of New York City with the resources they need to stay right in the boroughs.

    Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities offer a variety of assistance to local seniors. For instance, while New York City has recently become safer with lower crime rates, the reduction in crime has also caused rental rates to increase. NORCs can assist senior citizens in this area by connecting them with real estate and housing attorneys in the event that a landlord attempts to push a tenant from a rent-controlled apartment building.

    NORCs also provide senior citizens with various classes such as yoga and crocheting, each taught by an elderly member of the community, and arranges for bilingual care and aid. Home health care visits are also made possible for those seniors unable to travel to medical centers, although this is not to replace emergency care as home health care workers are 50% more likely to suffer from a work injury than hospital workers.

    Gentrification, isolation, and language barriers make it difficult for immigrated seniors to succeed financially. For those born outside of the United States aging peacefully in the boroughs of New York City, NORCs are the true golden doors opened by Lady Liberty.