Is 2021 When State’s Population Drain Crisis Ends?

Unless something surprising happens, New York stands poised to lose even more of its national clout when the U.S. Census results are announced next year.

According to the Census Bureau’s latest estimates, New York’s July 1, 2020, population of 19,336,776 was down 126,355, or .65%, from the estimated level of a year earlier, the estimates indicate. According to the Empire Center for New York State Policy, in both absolute and percentage terms, New York’s population drop in 2019-20 was the biggest among 16 states.

Texas and Florida gained the most population in 2019-20, with population increasing 1.29% and 1.12%, respectively. At the same time New York’s population was decreasing, the national population was increasing .35%.

The exact statistical causes of the state’s population decline won’t be known for a while, but previous Empire Center analyses have shown 1.4 million have moved from New York to other states since 2010, and the state’s migration inflow and births haven’t been enough to make up for the number of people who have chosen to live elsewhere. It’s little surprise that Florida continues to grow –after all, the Sunshine State is the biggest recipient of New Yorkers who pack up and move.

New York’s population trend is nothing new. We and every other news outlet in New York state has been reporting on this for some time. What would be news, however, is the state’s Democratic Party-led politicians doing something about it. It’s hard to believe the continued low-tax status enjoyed by Texas and Florida aren’t at least part of the reason they are gaining population while people are packing moving trucks in New York state. Rural counties have been shrinking for years, but the COVID-driven plea to tax the rich even is hitting New York City — which the entire state has long counted on to keep the state’s population somewhat level. The New York Post reported in November that US Postal Service change-of-address requests showed more than 300,000 New Yorkers had left New York City since March.

A struggling rural economy, high taxes and a state government that has yet to find an aspect of your life it can’t regulate have long combined to send people looking for areas where jobs are more plentiful and where government knows its proper place. COVID-19 has only increased New York government’s grasp on people’s lives. People are going to states with lower income taxes and, in the cases of Washington and Colorado, state governments that remain practical in their use of legislative power.

More data from the census will trickle out in the next several months, and that data will give us a more clear picture of who came to New York, who left and why. We’ll know a lot more about birth and death rates and incoming and outgoing migration rates. What we know today — that the state’s population losses are getting worse — should be ringing alarm bells in Albany.

Will these numbers wake them up?

We sure hope so.


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