Manhattan’s Population Is on the Rebound

After the ‘urban exodus’ brought on by the pandemic, most of New York City’s boroughs are regaining their population.

June 10, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Manhattan Skyline

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

As the pandemic began to shut down public life, Manhattan saw a sharp outmigration of households seeking more space and more affordable housing outside the city. “In that first pandemic year, New York City saw more outbound migration than any other metro area in the US, with at least 160,000 households fleeing between March 2020 and February 2021, according to the data provided by Melissa, which is sourced from US Postal Service change-of-address records.”

The trend is starting to reverse, however. “The largest US city still faces a tough road ahead with overall population declining, low office return figures threatening business survival and fear of crime cited as a deterrent to moving to the city,” writes Sarah Holder in Bloomberg CityLab. “But as suburban housing prices spiked and businesses reopened, the data shared by Melissa show that in the second year of the pandemic, migration out of Manhattan slowed down, and migration into the borough increased.” 

Meanwhile, “A gradual return to in-office work, at least part-time, and the city’s enduring allure as a global destination are driving some people back. Limited and increasingly expensive housing inventory outside the city may also be making it harder to leave.” According to the article, “Of the five New York City boroughs, all but Staten Island and the Bronx have gained new residents compared to the first year of the pandemic. Manhattan gained the most.” With the suburban housing market growing more competitive, leaving the city is becoming less attractive.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022 in Bloomberg CityLab

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