However, the comptroller said, the borough still faces significant challenges. Queens schools are overcrowded, a consequence of the growing population.
Another challenge is affordable housing. DiNapoli said as the economy improves and home values go up, residents are feeling more pressure from increased rents and a lack of affordable options.
Queens residents also face long commute times, particularly in southeast Queens, which the comptroller said has the longest commutes.
“All that being said, when you look at all the data points that we analyzed, the borough is moving in a decidedly positive direction,” DiNapoli said. “There is absolutely no question about that.”
Borough President Melinda Katz said now that Queens is second only to Manhattan in tourism, generating more than $1 billion in tax revenue last year, that should translate into more money for local schools and streets.
“As our economy grows so do our families, who need the infrastructure,” she said.
Katz said in a few weeks her office will unveil a new Long Island City strategic plan that looks comprehensively at not only workforce development, but also education, development and community. The plan will focus on training the workforce on technology in all businesses.
Thomas Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said another sign of the borough’s economic growth is in its retail. Last year alone, Queens Center Mall had 27 million visitors.
“Just think about the trickle effect of the people who visit,” he said. “They come from all over the place.”
Grech said he has seen many more businesses develop over the last few years in the borough.
“It’s a great time to have a business in Queens and grow it,” Grech said.
DiNapoli said the report can be used by elected officials, community advocates and local leaders to advocate for the borough. The comptroller regularly releases reports on the economy of individual neighborhoods and boroughs.
“I hope it validates what many of you have already been feeling or seeing on the ground,” DiNapoli said. “I hope it will be a useful tool as this community continues to work on all the issues and move the borough forward.”