Wall Street – West Avenue Neighborhood Study Shows Diverse Population

November 27, 2018

As part of the Wall Street/West Avenue Neighborhood Plan, a study was conducted of Norwalk and surrounding towns of such areas as demographics, housing, industry, and employment conditions. These areas were looked at in light of the goal for the neighborhood: to be an innovative urban environment that is accessible, authentic, lively and affordable. Below are some of findings from the study on Norwalk and the Wall Street-West Avenue area’s population and demographics, as well as a more in-depth look at the people in the Wall Street-West Avenue neighborhood.

Age of Population

The study found that, overall, Norwalk has a higher portion of working-age people, as well as fewer families and retirees than Fairfield County or Connecticut as a whole. In Norwalk, there are fewer of the youngest age group (19 and younger) and oldest age group (65+) as compared to Fairfield County and the rest of the state. Conversely, the proportion of younger people of working age (20-34) and those 50-64 is much higher in Norwalk (21.3%) than at the county or state levels (17.6% and 18.9%, respectively).

It’s expected that in ten years, Norwalk’s population will grow to 93,900; an increase of about 3,700. This is a rough estimate and is presumably understated when paired with the recent growth in multifamily housing within the City since 2015. This increase will see a shift in age groups with a majority of the population increases in the 20-34 and over 65 age groups. Unlike the state and many other cities within Connecticut, Norwalk is among the few communities that are seeing growth while others remain on a slight decline.

Norwalk Population, 2018-2028 (Projected)

Race and Ethnicity

By race and ethnicity, Norwalk is more diverse than Fairfield County and Connecticut, with a smaller portion of white residents and a larger percentage of African American residents. Additionally, 25.1% of Norwalk residents (of any race) identify as Hispanic or Latino, while corresponding shares for Fairfield County and Connecticut are 18.6% and 15.0% respectively.

Education and Income

With regard to education, Norwalk has a slightly higher percentage of people with less than a high school degree (11.6%) as compared to Fairfield County (9.9%) and the rest of the state (10.1%). In contrast, Norwalk residents, age 25 and over (41.6%), have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 4..7% less than Fairfield County, but 3.5% above statewide levels.

Norwalk households have higher incomes than Connecticut, but lower than Fairfield County overall. Median household income in Norwalk for 2016 was $80,896, above the statewide median of $71,755, but below Fairfield County’s median of $86,670.

Household Income, 2016

Profile of Wall Street-West Avenue Neighborhood Residents

In the 1-mile radius around the Wall Street-West Avenue neighborhood, there is a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds with a large portion of foreign-born residents and more households speaking languages other than English (49% of residents). These residents are typically employed in white-collar or service professions, but they also have lower incomes and face higher housing costs than the national average. Because of this, many in this are young families renting in older apartment buildings. Though these families have significantly lower net worth than average and little extra money for savings and investment, they are style-conscious consumers and also spend on family and baby products, and activities.

The second-largest group within the area, at 18% of the population, have slightly higher incomes and work in professional and service occupations. These residents still lag relative to the nation in net worth, but are cost-conscious, budget well, and often are saving for a home purchase.

The other two categories of the population in the Wall Street/West Avenue neighborhood, at 10% each, are one, older, married-couple families who are well educated and financially well-off. They work in professions such as finance, information/technology, education, or management. They have higher net worth and tend to own their homes. Families in this group are willing to spend money for quality and brands they like. The second smaller group in the area consists of people who are younger and more mobile than the first group and more likely to rent. They are also educated and well-employed and spend more money on experiential activities than the other groups.

The Wall Street-West Avenue neighborhood’s population is diverse in ethnic background, education and income, making for an interesting mix of residents. As plans are developed for this area, input from various members of these groups will be vital to creating a healthy and vibrant urban neighborhood in Norwalk.

Read the Full Draft of the Wall Street/West Avenue Neighborhood Plan
(The study begins on page 84 )

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