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Census: New York losing more residents to outmigration

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(The Center Square) — New Yorkers continue to flee for other states, according to newly released U.S. Census figures, which show that the Empire State lost more than 200,000 residents last year.

The Census data, released Thursday, shows that New York saw a net outmigration of 216,778 between 2022 and 2023. Between 2020 and 2023 New York state lost 482,257 residents, according to the data.

Nowhere was the state’s outmigration more prevalent than in New York City, the nation’s largest city with a population of 8.2 million, which saw a net loss of nearly 78,000 residents moving out of the city between 2022 and 2023.

Other New York cities also saw a loss of residents in 2023, according to the newly released city and town population data. Buffalo’s population dropped by about 1,000 residents to 274,678 in 2023, the data shows. Other cities saw modest optics in their population.

Despite that, New York’s outmigration appears to be slowing, with about 81,000 fewer residents leaving the state in 2023 than in 2022, a 27% drop, according to the data.

Overall, the Census data for 2023 show that people are moving out of Democratic strongholds like New York, Massachusetts and Illinois and into red states like Texas, Florida and Arizona.

“The population growth across the South in 2023 was driven by significant numeric and percentage gains among its cities,” Crystal Delbé, a statistician in the Census Bureau’s Population Division, said in a statement. “Thirteen of the 15 fastest-growing cities were in the South, with eight in Texas alone.”

Experts say the outmigration has less to do with politics than it does with a lack of housing, prevailing wages and access to employment.

However, federal data shows that the population decline has major implications for the states, revenue and tax collections.

New York lost an eye-popping $24.5 billion in state-adjusted gross income in 2021 as residents fled to New Jersey, Florida and other low-tax states, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service figures.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has pointed to a lack of housing as a primary reason New Yorkers are fleeing the state, making the case for expanding housing stock and making existing homes more affordable.

“People aren’t moving for warmer weather or lower taxes. They’re moving next door,” Hochul said in her State of the State address in January. “Three of the top five states New Yorkers are moving to share our borders and have similar taxes. People are earning in New York but living in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.”

Republicans argue that New York’s outmigration is being driven largely by the state’s highest-in-the-nation tax burden and a business sector that is struggling under excessive regulations, as well as rising labor costs.

“As more residents continue to flee the state for places that offer affordability, security, and opportunity, we need real solutions and the political will to address the challenges we face, not band-aids to bad policies that have decreased the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” Republican Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt said in response to Hochul’s speech.

Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco and Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara have filed legislation that would establish a bipartisan state commission to study why people are leaving the Empire State.

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