New York Remains An Outbound State

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(Photo by Beth Kanter/Flickr)

“I’m movin’ out,” sang the young Billy Joel in a popular 1977 song about the desires of various New York types. Unfortunately for Joel’s home state, that sentiment remains all-to-real for his fellow native-born New Yorkers.

Population trends that have defined New York for the past 30 years—natives leaving, immigrants moving in—have continued in the 2010s. In 2017 alone, New York experienced an outbound moving rate of 61 percent, a percentage topped by only Illinois and New Jersey. In all, up to 190,000 New Yorkers left the state in 2017.

The results are according to a survey of the United Van Lines’ annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns.

Not just New York, but the rest of the Northeast continues to experience a moving deficit of American citizens. Along with New York, New Jersey (63 percent of all moves outbound) and Connecticut (57 percent) made the list of top outbound states for the third consecutive year. Massachusetts (56 percent) also joined the top outbound list.

The top state for outbound travel was Illinois, with 63 percent of moves being out-of-state. Vermont had the highest percentage of inbound migration in 2017 with nearly 68 percent of moves to and from the state being inbound.

According to the survey, the Mountain West continues to increase in popularity with 54 percent of moves being inbound. The West is represented on the high-inbound list by Oregon (65 percent), Idaho (63 percent), Nevada (61 percent) Washington (59 percent), and Colorado (56 percent). Of moves to Oregon, the highest-ranking western state, a new job or company transfer (49 percent) and proximity to family (24 percent) led the reasons for most inbound moves. The southern states also saw a high number of people moving in with 52 percent of total moves being inbound. United Van Lines found the top reasons for moving south included company transfer/new job, retirement and proximity to family.

“This year’s data reflects longer-term trends of movement to the western and southern states, especially to those where housing costs are relatively lower, climates are more temperate and job growth has been at or above the national average, among other factors,” said Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We’re also seeing continued migration to the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West as young professionals and retirees leave California.”

Listed here are the top 10 moving in and moving out states:

Moving In

1. Vermont
2. Oregon
3. Idaho
4. Nevada
5. South Dakota
6. Washington
7. South Carolina
8. North Carolina
9. Colorado
10. Alabama

Moving Out

1. Illinois
2. New Jersey
3. New York
4. Connecticut
5. Kansas
6. Massachusetts
7. Ohio
8. Kentucky
9. Utah
10. Wisconsin

For New York, the outbound traffic only tells half the story. For the time period of 2011-2017, New York’s domestic outmigration was 1,036,669, or 5 percent of the entire population. At the same time, immigration rates were in the 3 to 4 percent range. That compensates for some, but not all, of the domestic outmigration numbers.

Since 2011, New York lawmakers have tried to stem the exodus of young people by capping real estate property tax increases at 2 percent, a move that was especially aimed at keeping young couples on Long Island. And indeed, the outmigration between 2010 and 2017 was less than it was for the prior seven years between 2000 and 2007, when the state suffered a 1.6 million loss in native-born New Yorkers. Despite the outmigration numbers, native-born Americans do move to New York. For Nassau County, in-migration came heavily from San Francisco (105), Cook County (Chicago), IL (88) and Los Angeles County, CA (42). Only 23 people moved from Dade County (Miami) FL, to Nassau proving that when New Yorkers relocate to the Sunshine State, they stay there.

As the decade draws into its final years, New York, it appears, will have to live with the same pattern of natives leaving and any number of immigrants moving in.

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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