Are There Three Million People in Brooklyn?
Rav Moshe zt”l maintained that the area Brooklyn encompasses is a little more than twelve mil by twelve mil and he was told that the population of Brooklyn is somewhat less than 3,000,000 (Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:87-88; see Part 1: Shishim Ribo According to Hagaon Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l). He nevertheless maintained that Brooklyn has the status of a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa because he was led to believe that nearly a million people come into the borough to work (ibid., 4:88).
These are the facts:
The US Census Bureau (Census 2000 Summary File 1) reported the population of Brooklyn in the year 2000 as being 2,465,326 people, which is much fewer than the population required by Rav Moshe. How much more so if we were to focus only on a twelve mil by twelve mil area and not the entire Brooklyn, the population would be significantly less than the number required by Rav Moshe. Additionally, even if one were to factor into the population the number of people who actually commute into the borough to work [235,918 people], the total never comes close to the required 3,000,000 people. Even more so, at the same time there are more people who commute out of Brooklyn to work [424,107 people]; thus, the total falls far short of the required 3,000,000 (NYC Department of City Planning, Table CTPP P-6, P-7, 2003). Had Rav Moshe known these facts he would concur that Brooklyn does not have the status of a reshus harabbim of shishim ribo.