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Voting with feet: New York losing people at fastest rate of any state, Census finds

The 2.1% decrease in population was the highest loss of any state.

Published: December 22, 2022 5:38pm

Updated: December 22, 2022 11:09pm

(The Center Square) -

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday showed New York has lost a greater percentage of its population over the last two years than any other state.

The state’s population estimate as of July 1, 2020, was 20.1 million people, a nearly 100,000 decline from just three months earlier and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, the estimated population was slightly less than 19.9 million, and this past July, the Census Bureau estimated the Empire State had a population of nearly 19.7 million.

The 2.1% decrease in population was the highest loss of any state. New York was one of 19 states that lost residents, according to Census projections, over the past two years.

Critics have noted New York’s population decline for years. While the state actually saw its population grow by more than 4% from 2010 to 2020, it still lost a seat in Congress in the upcoming term as other states grew at a faster rate.

But the state also saw people leave New York City in droves as the pandemic hit the area hard nearly three years ago. Empire Center for Public Policy Founder E.J. McMahon noted in a blog post Thursday, domestic migration data showed the state had nearly 300,000 more people move out than relocate there.

“Over the combined two-year period, New York has lost a net 651,742 residents to other states — exceeding the combined populations of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse,” McMahon wrote.

Republican leaders have pointed to Democratic policies as major reasons for the state’s population losses. In particular, they’ve criticized bail reforms and the state’s high tax rates for causing the exodus.

“Since becoming Leader, I have heard from countless New Yorkers who are fed up with rising costs, rising crime, and a lack of checks and balances in our State Capitol,” Republican Senate Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said in a statement last month. “Our state’s rapidly declining population reflects that sentiment.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Census data revealed Idaho had the highest population gain of any state. With more than 1.9 million residents, the roughly 90,000 increase from 2020 to this year represented a 4.9% jump.

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