New York could be on the way to its first population decline in any decade since the 1970s, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Empire State’s July 1, 2020 population of 19,336,776 was down 126,355, or 0.65 percent, from the estimated level of a year earlier, the estimates indicate. In both absolute and percentage terms, New York’s population drop in 2019-20 was the biggest among 16 states.

At the other extreme, Texas and Florida were big gainers in 2019-20— up 373,965 (1.29 percent) and 241,256 (1.12 percent) respectively. The national population during the same period was up another 1,154,170, or 0.35 percent. Below is a map of percentage changes by state based on the new data, which mainly cover a period before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted living patterns starting in March.

 

The 2020 estimated New York population represented a net decline of 41,326, or 0.21 percent, from the official decennial census count in 2010—largely because foreign immigration into the state has fallen off sharply since 2017, in line with a national trend. While components of population change were not released today, and won’t be available until next February at the earliest, previous annual census estimates have indicated that New York’s sagging population total is due mainly to an outmigration flow of 1.4 million people to other states since 2010.

If New York’s estimated trend holds true in the final decennial census count for 2020, it will also translate into a loss of up to two congressional seats. Only five other states—West Virginia, Illinois, Vermont, Connecticut and Mississippi—have experienced estimated population decreases from 2010 to 2020.

Other quick takes:

  • New York also has been losing population faster than the Northeast Region as a whole, which was down 0.27 percent in the latest year but up almost 1 percent since 2010. Ranking just ahead of New York in 2019-20 in the 50-state count was Illinois, the fiscal and economic basket case of the Midwest, which was down 79,487 people, or 0.63 percent during the year ending July 1.
  • The nation’s population has increased 20,738,585, or 6.72 percent, since the 2010 census. Major states running well ahead of the national trend included Florida, perennially the biggest migration gainer from New York, whose estimated population was up 2,932,002, or 15.59 percent, and Texas, up 4,215,198, or 16.76 percent.

For more Empire Center research and analysis of demographic trends since 2009, click here.

 

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.