New York City
New York City Via Pexels

A new study by The Fiscal Policy Institute has revealed that New York State has experienced a significant population decline since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, between 2020 and 2023, the state's population decreased by 533,200, or 2.7 percent, marking the sharpest drop of any state in the U.S.

Moreover, when segmented by race, the numbers are even more staggering. Black New Yorkers are leaving New York State at more than 50% the rate of white New Yorkers while Latinos have become increasingly likely to leave, with out-migration rates 38% higher than white New Yorker. This trend is especially pronounced in New York City, which has a large Black and Hispanic population.

This trend raises long-term fiscal and economic concerns and indicates that the state is not ensuring that families can afford to stay and thrive in New York.

The study concludes a couple of additional factors contributing to this out-migration:

  • Firstly, the state's affordability crisis, particularly for families with young children, is a major driver. Housing costs, especially in New York City, have become untenable for many.
  • Secondly, New Yorkers with higher career mobility and weaker ties to the state, including young adults, have become more likely to leave since the pandemic. Common characteristics of these out-migrants include work-from-home status and being born outside New York, often returning to their state of birth.

FPI's analysis also indicated that New Yorkers earning $800,000 or more leave the state at a rate one-quarter that of other residents. This data, combined with the new findings, suggests that working and middle-class families, who face the most significant affordability challenges, are the most likely to leave. The affordability crisis has become even more pronounced since the Covid pandemic.

The study goes on to conclude that urgent policies must be implemented to reverse this trend:

"These recent trends in out-migration represent a failure to provide New Yorkers with the financial stability necessary to remain in the State as they build careers and families. This policy failure requires urgent policy action. In particular, policy interventions that increase the supply of housing across the income distribution and that support New Yorkers in affording childcare would most directly confront New York's affordability crisis."

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