New York! The place where dreams come true and fall makes people think of bouquets of sharpened pencils, Tom Hanks, and Meg Ryan.
It’s also home to nearly 30% of the most unreached people groups in North America! There are 48 distinct people groups most in need of cross-cultural missionaries in Metro New York, which includes the upper half of New Jersey. In short, if you want to do a cross-cultural mission trip, you can skip getting your passport picture and head to New York City.
Making Sense of the Numbers
To give you an idea of the significance of these numbers, consider Toronto (our second most significant city for these UPG’s). It has about 15% of the groups on the matrix and 19 distinct people groups. New York has double that! So let’s dig a little deeper into these numbers shall we?
Over 2 million souls are included in these 48 groups. They have the highest concentrations in 32 different neighborhoods (although they live in hundreds). The largest UPG population in Metro New York are Russian Jews. The greatest concentration of them is in Brighton Beach. Uzbek and Kazakh Muslims from the former Soviet Union are also most densely represented there. If you are interested in that part of the world and love Jesus, you could have a substantial harvest in Brighton Beach!
Understanding the Diversity
Other sizable populations in the New York Metro Area include 138,000 Gujarati (concentrated in Edison, New Jersey), 250,000 Hindi-speaking Indians (concentrated in Jersey City), and 150,000 Bangladeshi (largest concentration in Jamaica, Queens).
If we want to talk in terms of ranks on the matrix, you can refer to the handy little infographic below. The top 5 UPG’s (not the best top 5 to be in) are all from Jewish groups. As discussed last week, these are some of the hardest to reach because of their close-knit communities. Also near the top are 6,000 Afghan Hindu/Sikhs. Yes. You read that right–Afghan Hindus and Sikhs forged a common identity under Taliban persecution and continue to organize as one people. They are a unique group for sure!
Unreached Within Reach
These numbers barely scratch the surface of the significant UPG populations in Metro New York. These are the “unreached within reach.” They live in areas with a good amount of Christians and churches (give it a google). People might think of NYC as unchurched, but the simple fact is that there are likely more Christians living among these UPG’s than in their countries of origin. God has done a tremendous thing bringing them to our neighborhoods.