New York’s slow growth during the past decade is reflected in newly released Census Bureau data showing that the Empire State ranked 48th out of 50 states in the creation of new housing units from 2000 to 2009.

As illustrated in the chart below, New York State’s housing growth rate of 4.4 percent was just over one-third of the national average of 12.1 percent.  Only Connecticut and Rhode Island created additional housing at a slower rate during this period.  The raw numbers: New York added 337,956 housing units to the stock of just under 7.7 million units counted in the 2000 census.


With the bursting of the real estate bubble, of course, the pace of new housing growth slowed down sharply across the country.  Between 2007 and 2009, the national growth rate was 1.4 percent.  In New York during this period, housing units grew by 0.8 percent, which was still slower than in 37 other states.

County trends in New York

As shown in the table below, the counties with the fastest growth in housing units in New York were in the suburban and second-home communities of the Catskills and mid-Hudson Valley (Dutchess, Greene, Orange and Sullivan), the upper Hudson Valley (Saratoga and Warren) and rural-suburban Rochester (Ontario).   Richmond County (borough of Staten Island) and New York County (borough of Manhattan) also were well above the state average.  But the other major urban counties — Albany, Erie, Monroe and Onondaga, as well as the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens — were all below average.  No New York State counties, not even the fastest growing on the list, were able to match the 12.1 percent national average.


Nassau County had the lowest housing growth rate in the state — a pitiful 0.20 percent between 2000-09, even worse than the 0.25 percent housing unit increase in struggling, low-income Montgomery County in the Mohawk Valley.  In fact, only four large counties in the entire nation had lower rates of housing unit growth than Nassau County between 2000 and 2009.   Nassau’s growth rate ranked 231 among 235 counties that had at least 100,000 housing units at the start of the decade.  Two of the counties with lower rates were in hurricane-ravaged Lousiana; the other two were Baltimore, Md., and Philadelphia, Pa.

The high cost of housing is a frequent subject of complaint and concern among Long Island residents and elected officials.  But until more is actually built in the region, especially in Nassau County, affordable housing for all income levels will remain in short supply.


About the Author

E.J. McMahon

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

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

At mid-year, NY still far below most states in pandemic jobs recovery

New York has added private-sector jobs in all but three of the 38 months since the COVID-19 outbreak of March 2020—but the Empire State remains below its pre-pandemic employment level and continues to trail the national recovery. On a seasonally adju Read More

At end of ’22, NY still near bottom in pandemic recovery

The more time passes since the spring 2020 Covid-19 outbreak, the more New York stands out among all states for the weakness of its post-pandemic employment recovery. As of December, seasonally adjusted private employment in New York was still nearly 2 Read More

As leaves turn, NY’s post-pandemic recovery still has very far to go

New York was the national epicenter of the pandemic, and Governor Cuomo's "New York State on PAUSE" business shutdowns and other restrictions led, in short order, to the loss of nearly 2 million jobs in the first full month after the infection began spreading in the New York City area. Read More

More NY job gains in August—but employment needs to rise a lot further

New York's jobs report for August looked relatively strong—but only by comparison, that is, with what was generally regarded as a disappointing national number. On a seasonally adjusted basis, New York gained 28,000 private-sector jobs last month—a growth rate of 0.4 percent, according to preliminary monthly estimates from the state Labor Department. Read More

NY Post-Pandemic Employment Tide Stopped Rising At Year’s End

New York's post-pandemic employment recovery came to a halt and moved into reverse in December, according to the state's for the final month of COVID-wracked 2020. Private payroll employment in December was 966,000 jobs below the level of the previous Read More

Fewer Workers, Not More Jobs, Explains NY’s September Unemployment Rate Drop

New York State's unemployment rate has fallen sharply since the economically devastating pandemic lockdown last spring. But as state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli points out in  his latest economic report, the jobless rate doesn't tell the whole story. Read More

It’s Official: New York State’s Second Quarter Economic Crash Was the Worst on Record

Further evidence of the massive damage done to New York’s economy by the coronavirus pandemic shutdown has emerged in the latest gross domestic product (GDP) data from the federal Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Affairs. Read More

Sluggish Reopening: NY’s Private Job Count Down 1.1 Million From Pre-Pandemic Level

Six months into the novel coronavirus pandemic, New York State's private-sector employment recovery was the slowest in the 48 contiguous states—and getting slower. Read More