NY Experienced Record Population Decline During Pandemic | News

ALBANY (TNS) – In July 2020, Maria and Jayson Loushin finally made a change they had been talking about for years. They sold their furniture, packed their cars and their three children, and moved from Staten Island to Palm Coast, Florida.

“The pandemic was not our reason to go; it just gave us the opportunity to go,” Maria said. “We were able to work remotely and take our jobs with us. We were able to say ‘now is the time’ and ‘let’s go. “

The Loushins were fed up with long journeys to work by train and ferry. They wanted to be closer to Maria’s parents, who live in Florida. And they loved the easy access to their favorite place – the beach.

The Loushins, who document their move on YouTube, are now building a house in a coastal community. They noticed a good number of New Yorkers in the area, distinguished by their New York license plates or their Yankees caps, and locals also noticed that they had noticed an “influx.”

Wider trend

Their experience aligns with a larger trend. Estimates recently released by the US Census Bureau show that hundreds of thousands of people have left New York City during the pandemic.

The data offers the first glimpse into the state’s population loss since COVID-19 hit the state.

From July 2020 to July 2021, New York’s population fell by 319,020 people, the largest numerical drop of any state in the country, according to Census Bureau estimates.

At 1.6%, New York also experienced the largest percentage decline in population of any state during this time period. Only the District of Columbia experienced a higher percentage decrease.

The decline in New York’s population over the past year can be attributed to the departure of 352,185 New York residents, the Census Bureau estimated. According to the Empire Center for Public Policy, this breaks all emigration records, surpassing New York’s record annual migration losses in the late 1970s.

Only California had more residents leaving its state from July 2020 to July 2021. Illinois was third. But these losses were offset by new residents more than those of New York.

New York’s population has now fallen below 20 million people to 19.8 million.

From April 2010 to April 2020, New York’s population grew 4%, slower than the national average, according to Census Bureau data. But in one year, from July 2020 to July 2021, the state lost much of those gains made over a decade.

Negative impacts

Mark Castiglione, executive director of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, noted that these census estimates are based on a new methodology, due to the effects of the pandemic, and only time will tell how good the estimates are. ‘prove to be correct. But a shrinking population could translate into negative impacts for the state, including lower tax revenues, shrinking school districts, and fewer young people.

Justin Wilcox, executive director of Upstate United, a business and taxpayer advocacy group, said “tackling the exodus from the Empire State must be a top priority for our leaders in 2022”. He suggested that the high taxes and the cost of living in the state were driving New Yorkers to relocate.

Governor Kathy Hochul did not respond to a request for comment.

At the start of the pandemic, the U.S. Postal Service’s address change requests showed a surge of people from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queensup to Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties.

Since those early days, Facebook groups for relocating New Yorkers – within or outside the state – have proliferated. There are groups for people who are considering moving to specific states or regions or for those who are trying to determine where and whether to move. Discussion forums show people thinking about destinations across the county, international moves, or a jump from New York to Upstate.

Out of state

Chris Alan Jones moved with his wife and baby from Queens to Ferndale, Michigan in May 2020 because they feared for their health to be in the city during the pandemic. Jones, 46, suffers from multiple sclerosis and is immunocompromised. He felt he couldn’t safely go to the grocery store or even leave their third floor apartment in New York City.

“I was terrified of leaving the house because I didn’t want to get sick,” Jones said. “I didn’t want my daughter to get sick.”

So Jones and his family moved into a house his wife inherited in Ferndale and quickly bought their own three-bedroom house there, paying less on their mortgage than to rent their one-bedroom apartment. They can now play safely in their own garden.

With her child and her husband, Zoha Rehmani moved from New York in December 2020. They were tired of being locked in their “shoebox” apartment during COVID-19 and had been billed over anything bigger At New York. So they took the plunge and moved to a more affordable apartment in Austin, Texas.

After renting for a year in Austin, Rehmani and her husband hoped to buy a house. But now they are realizing that they cannot afford the few homes available in the booming real estate market out there.

“Austin is not that cheap,” Rehmani said. “Why should I stay in a place as expensive as New York but that doesn’t have all that New York has?” “

With “East Coast culture” missing, Rehmani and her family plan to relocate to the Washington, DC area again next summer, she said.

The United States as a whole

Overall, the population of the United States grew 0.1% from July 2020 to last July, the lowest rate since the country’s founding, according to the Census Bureau. The office attributed the low growth rate to reduced immigration, lower fertility and increased mortality due in part to the pandemic.

“Population growth has been slowing for years due to falling birth rates and declining net international migration, while death rates are rising due to the country’s aging population,” said Kristie Wilder , demographer in the Population Division of the Census Bureau. “Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in a historically slow pace of growth. “

During that one-year period, more people moved south than anywhere else, while people moved out of the northeast and west, according to the Census Bureau.

Texas gained the most people during this period due to domestic immigration and births. Idaho experienced the fastest annual percentage increase in population.

But the vast majority of people stayed put in 2021 and didn’t budge, other census data released earlier this year showed. In fact, people moved at the lowest rate for over 70 years in 2021.

Some who left the Empire State have doubts.

Katey said she moved from New York to Connecticut in June 2020, but is now trying to go back. The Times Union agreed not to use her last name due to the nature of her job. She has more living space in Connecticut, but “it’s so boring” and “undiversified,” she said.

“I just don’t have much in common with soccer moms,” she said. “I try to go back as soon as possible.

(c) 2021 Times Union (Albany, NY)

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