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Population Flight in New York Metro Region and Decline in New York State

New data from the U.S. Census and Empire Center shows that for the first time in a decade, the Empire State lost population. Furthermore, last year only two upstate counties had more residents arrive from other states than leave.
April 5, 2017, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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While the headline of the New York Post article, "People are fleeing New York at an alarming rate," appeared on April 1, it was no April fool's joke.

"More than 1 million people moved out of the New York [metro] area to other parts of the country since 2010, a rate of 4.4 percent — the highest negative net migration rate among the nation’s large population centers, US Census records show," reports Aaron Short.

The figure is a measurement of domestic migration in the Tri-State Area consisting of New York City and "parts of New Jersey, Connecticut, the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island." It does not include immigration to/from foreign countries, which is included under "net migration".

The two upstate counties that experienced positive domestic migration last year were Saratoga and Ontario counties.

[Out-migration] swelled from 187,034 in 2015 to 223,423 in 2016, while the number of international immigrants settling in the tristate area dwindled from 181,551 to 160,324 over the same period, records show.

Reasons include retirees moving to warmer weather and an improved economy.

“The historical trend is that out-migration grows when the economy is getting better,” said Empire Center for Public Policy research director E.J. McMahon.

New York State population decline

An earlier article in The Post reports on a study from the Empire Center released March 23 showing the state's population decline. See map (png) showing 42 of the state's 62 counties that experienced population decline from 2010 to 2016.

"The Empire State’s population has fallen for the first time in a decade — dropping from 19,795,791 in 2015 to 19,745,289 in 2016 — because of an exodus of people from New York’s northern and western rural regions, according to US Census estimates," reports Amanda Woods.

In 2014, the Florida overtook the Empire State as the third most populous state in the United States, after California and Texas.

While downstate population increased, the rate is lower than in prior years. Population growth is from 2010 to 2016. All five boroughs saw increases:

  • The Bronx:     5.10 percent to 1,455,720
  • Brooklyn:       4.97 percent to 2,629,150
  • Queens:        4.60 percent to 2,333,054
  • Manhattan:   3.65 percent to 1,643,734
  • Staten Island: 1.55 percent to   476,015

[Also see New York City, Department of City Planning's population webpage.]

New York City's population totaled 8,537,673 as of July 1, 2016. Unfortunately, the Empire Center study does not separate New York City from its New York suburbs in total population change:

During the 12-month period ending last July 1, the downstate region (New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley) gained a combined total of 21,540 people, less than half the region’s increase during the previous year. This brought the total downstate population to 13,465,661, an increase of 426,835 since the 2010 census, while the combined population in 50 upstate counties stood at 6,279,628, a decrease of 59,648 people since 2010.

In terms of net migration, which includes immigration from other countries, nine counties saw increases, but only two from New York City (Manhattan and Queens) over the six-year period, showing that New York City's population increase is mainly due to childbirth.

The report highlights the population decline in Suffolk County on Long Island, the state's fourth most populous county after Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Suffolk, one of the nation’s fastest growing suburbs for much of the post-war era, ranked fifth on the Census Bureau’s list of “Top 10 Largest-Declining Counties or County Equivalents” in the 2015-16 period. [Third chart in the Census press release.]
Hat tip to Peter Flieg.


Related Planetizen posts on U.S. Census Bureau estimates released March 23:

Full Story:
Published on Monday, April 3, 2017 in New York Post
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