Cholera in New York City
Tenements and Typhus in New York City, 1840-1875

St. Vincent's Hospital (1849)

Ambulance at Bellevue Hospital (1895)

Epidemics in 19th Century New York City

The population of Manhattan grew from app. 60,000 people in 1800 to app. 2,300,000 people in 1900. (More in Wikipedia)

The statistics for 2008 reveal that app. 1,700,000 people live in Manhattan at present. The population density in Manhattan, in other words, was much higher in the 19th Century than now.

The rapid growth of the city along with the density of the population led to very unhealthy living conditions, particularly among the poor and the immigrants of Five Points. Among many other social reformers, Jacob Riis documented this with his photographs and his text How the Other Half Lives.

Below is a, most likely incomplete, list of epidemics that struck New York City in the 19th Century:

1805: Yellow Fever

1819: Yellow Fever

1822: Yellow Fever

1832: Cholera

1834: Cholera

1847: Typhus

1848-1849: Cholera

1854: Cholera

1862: Typhus

1865-1873: Smallpox

1866: Cholera

1881: Typhus

1882: Typhus

1892: Cholera


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