The eastern part of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, clustered around the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce parish church, has always been a traditionally francophone neighbourhood. It was bisected by the Decarie Expressway in the 1960s. The central and western parts were, and for the most part still are, traditionally home to middle-class and working-class anglophones with a significant lower-class population (though it has been on the decline in recent years). The majority of residents in this district speak English in their homes with only 32% speaking French. Many are students of the English post secondary schools, particularly Dawson College and Concordia University . There is also a sizeable Afro-Canadian and immigrant community, concentrated mostly around the parts of the district north of Somerled Avenue as well as south of Sherbrooke Street. In recent years, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has developed into a highly-desirable neighbourhood for young professionals.
Many of the houses are historical and have much character, having been built upwards of 70 years ago. The neighbourhood is known for its tree-lined streets, brick houses, and closely cropped duplexes. There are also many apartment buildings. Benny Farm was also a huge public housing project in central Notre-Dame-de-Grâce built for Second World War veterans and single-parent families, but was renovated and converted into condominiums after 2002.