Taxpayer moves within New York
As detailed in Table 3, the migration of taxpayers and their dependents within New York City reflects long-standing population flows from Manhattan to outer boroughs, from Brooklyn to Staten Island, and from all five boroughs—especially Queens—to suburban counties. Roughly 94 percent of the intrastate New York taxpayer-migrants from New York City stayed within the region, moving to either Long Island or the lower Hudson Valley.
New York City also lost a net 16,182 taxpayer-migrants to upstate New York regions, and 566,037 taxpayer-migrants to other states. The New York City region as a whole, including the suburban counties, lost 92,630 taxpayers and their dependents to upstate New York, which in turn lost 491,890 taxpayer-migrants to the rest of the country. The region-by-region breakdown is shown in Table 3a.
The IRS data also provide adjusted gross incomes for migrating individuals and households in the year they move. Measured on this basis, migrants from New York had incomes about $3.3 billion higher than migrants to New York in 2009, down from a peak of $5.3 billion for migrants in 2005.
As shown in Table 4, below, New York’s annual net income losses from 2000 through 2009 totaled nearly $37 billion. Incomes change over time, so this does not necessarily mean New York was $37 billion worse off at the end of the period than it would have been if no moves had occurred during this period. At the very least, however, the average incomes of migrating taxpayers reflect New York’s ongoing loss of earning power – and, in many cases, job skills -- to other states.
From 2001 to 2009, New York State’s greatest annual net income losses, like its greatest population losses, were to Florida and New Jersey, in that order. But Connecticut, the sixth most popular destination state for net migration of individual New Yorkers, ranked third in its net income gain from New York. Conversely, Pennsylvania ranks third in the number of people gained at New York’s expense, but fifth in its net income gain from migrating New Yorkers.
Incomes In, Incomes Out
The average adjusted gross income of taxpaying households leaving New York between 2008 and 2009 was $58,899, while the average income of households moving into New York was $48,432—a difference of 22 percent. Non-migrating New York households as of 2009 had an average income of $63,630.
A county-by-county breakdown of average incomes for interstate migrants to and from New York is presented in Table 5 on page 7. As shown, in 16 of New York’s 62 counties, the average income differential was the reverse of the statewide average; i.e., in these counties, the average incomes of in-migrants from other states were roughly equivalent to or exceeded the average incomes of out-migrants to other states. Higher or roughly equivalent in-migrant incomes were concentrated in less populous, rural upstate counties.
The average income differentials for out-migrants matched or exceeded the statewide average in New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley suburbs, as well as in all of the most urbanized and populous upstate counties (except for Onondaga County, which includes Syracuse). The largest differential in absolute terms was in New York County (the borough of Manhattan), where the average out-migrant income of $98,637 was 36 percent higher than the in-migrant average of $72,293. The percentage differentials between out-migrants and in-migrants were even higher in the rest of the city.
Turning to a state-level comparison, as detailed in Table 6 on page 8, migrants from New York had higher average incomes than migrants to New York in 42 out of 50 states between 2008 and 2009. New Yorkers migrating to New Jersey, the most common destination state, had incomes $10,579 higher than the smaller number making the reverse move. The differential was $23,751 among New York migrants to and from Connecticut, which also attracted the most affluent New Yorkers, on average.
The average income data for migrants to and from New York reflect the same pattern as the aggregate income and population data: southeastern states, and neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey, have been the biggest net beneficiaries of the Empire State’s losses—which can be traced largely to the New York City metropolitan region.
As detailed in Table 6 on page 8, the IRS data show that 177,505 federal tax returns were filed by former New Yorkers who had moved to other states in 2009, and 148,733 returns were filed by households that moved into New York from other states that year.