Thousands of people moved out of New York to neighboring states, such as New Jersey and Connecticut, between 2021 and 2022, U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday show, and local and regional planning experts said the trend could be prompted by the pandemic-era shift toward remote work.
“People are not going back to the offices as much. People say, ‘I’ll work up here in Connecticut or Jersey.’ A lot of people are working from home who used to commute,” said John D. Cameron, who is executive principal of Cameron Engineering, an IMEG Company, and chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council.
Cameron said while high taxation in New York and the high cost of living are often named as reasons people move out of the state, New Jersey and Connecticut have those issues as well. “I think it’s underappreciated, the change in the work environment. A lot of people don’t need to work in the city to have a city job, and a city paycheck.”
The data also showed New York State faced a net loss of an estimated 244,000 people who moved to other states in that one-year period, with the largest number relocating to Florida, as well as to other parts of the Sun Belt, a continuation of a long-standing migration pattern.
While New Yorkers moving to the Sun Belt has been occurring for decades, the movement of New Yorkers to neighboring states, including high cost ones like New Jersey and Connecticut, “I think is [a] newer” trend, Cameron said.
New York saw an estimated 301,461 people move into the state in 2022 — with a margin of error of plus or minus 11,250 people — while 545,598 moved out of the state — with a margin of error of plus or minus 21,535 people. New York’s estimated net loss was 244,137 people, according to Newsday’s analysis of the bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey one-year estimates of “state-to-state migration flows.”
The state that received the biggest number of New Yorkers during the one-year period was Florida, with an estimated 91,201 New Yorkers who had moved there during the previous year. Rounding out the top five states New Yorkers moved to, and the estimated number of movers, were: New Jersey, 75,103; Connecticut, 50,670; Pennsylvania, 44,807; and California, 31,255.
Other states receiving several thousands of New Yorkers included Texas (30,890), North Carolina (25,024), Massachusetts (21,186), Virginia (17,516), Georgia (16,535) and South Carolina (15,537).
New Jersey residents also moved into New York in large numbers, at 38,771, followed by people from California (34,681), Pennsylvania (28,184), Florida (21,300) and Massachusetts (20,673), according to the estimates.
“I think this is a combination of migration patterns that have been going on for years, where residents of New York have been out-migrating, both to less expensive places, particularly places with more affordable housing, as well as retirees moving to Florida and other places that have large communities of retired people,” said Christopher Jones, senior research fellow with the Regional Plan Association.
The association is a nonprofit civic organization that conducts research in the metropolitan area on the environment, land use, governance and advises cities, communities and public agencies. It has offices in Manhattan; Princeton, New Jersey; and Stamford, Connecticut.
Jones added there were other factors at work, such as the “big increase in the number of people who can work from home now since the pandemic. That has created some movement from New York City in particular out to suburban areas. It was easier for them to move farther out. I think that’s why you see some numbers moving to New Jersey.”
To Jones, one solution to try to stem the outflow of people from New York is building more affordable multifamily housing, “particularly in places like Long Island, Westchester and the Hudson Valley.” Jones said the RPA released a report recently that said the largest share of new housing being built outside of New York City was in New Jersey.
The region’s high cost of living led Long Island native Shanequa Levin, founder and chief executive of the Women’s Diversity Network, to move with her husband and two children to the metro Atlanta area two years ago. They moved to Lawrenceville, Georgia, which she said was about 50 minutes from Atlanta. "I'm enjoying it," she said.
“Both of my children are in college. We waited until they were done with high school before we moved in August of 2021,” Levin said. “The cost of living in New York is very expensive.” She said they got a larger home in Georgia for less money than it would cost them in New York. And now, she added, “we’re able to vacation more.”
Levin, who grew up in Glen Cove, said she maintains the work of her nonprofit on Long Island, saying the Women’s Diversity Network has three staff members on the Island. She said she travels back to Long Island at a minimum of four times a year, if not more.