Cognitive Difficulty Affects About 5% Of Latinos In New York City


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NEW YORK, November 30, 2022—A new report published today by the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) shows that about 5% of Latinos in the city have experienced cognitive difficulty since 2000.

The report, titled “Cognitive Difficulty in the Five Boroughs of New York City, 2000–2019” and authored by Marjorine Henriquez-Castillo, examines the percentage of people with cognitive difficulty—difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making a decision due to a physical, mental, or emotional condition—among residents in New York City.

Overall, the percentage of people with cognitive difficulty remained relatively stable in NYC at around 5%. Non-Hispanic whites reported a slightly higher percentage of cognitive difficulty, but by 2019, Asians reported the highest at 5.3%, and non-Hispanic blacks the lowest at 4.5%. By 2019, Non-Hispanic whites and Asians had the highest cognitive difficulty in the Bronx (5.4%), non-Hispanic blacks in Brooklyn (6.5% by 2019), Latinos in Manhattan (13.3% in 2019), and Asians in Queens (5.0%) and Staten Island (6.3%).

Other key findings:

  • Significant differences were observed among the five largest Latino subgroups in New York City. Cognitive difficulty among Puerto Ricans consistently increased across the three timepoints, but it remained relatively stable among Mexicans and Colombians, while decreasing among Ecuadorians and Dominicans.

  • By 2019, Manhattan had the highest percentage of people with cognitive difficultly (5.9%). In Staten Island, only 2.1% of the population reported cognitive difficulty—the lowest across all timepoints.

  • Males in most boroughs had a slightly higher percentage of cognitive difficulty when compared to females across the three timepoints. The exception was Queens, were slightly more women reported cognitive difficulty than men.

  • Rates of cognitive difficulty decreased in general among people 59 years old and younger but increased among those 60 years old and older.

  • This report presents trends in poverty levels for the city of New York up to before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from the moment of the pandemic was not available at the time of this analysis.

Contact Sebastián Villamizar-Santamaría, Director of Quantitative Research, for a PDF of the report at

About The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

The core mission of CLACLS is to actively support and advance the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. in the doctoral programs of The Graduate Center, and to provide opportunities for Latino students at the Ph.D. level. CLACLS’s flagship program is the Latino Data Project, established in 2003 by Laird W. Bergad founding and current CLACLS director. Bergad is a distinguished professor in the Department of Latin American, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Lehman College and with the Ph.D. Program in History at The Graduate Center. The Latino Data Project conducts detailed quantitative research on the Latino population of the United States and New York City metropolitan region, analyzing raw data files produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies.

About The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, and initiatives, including its Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.

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