New York suffered the largest loss of residents to other states in the nation from 2000 to 2008, with more than 1.5 million people leaving, a report Monday found.

The report, commissioned by the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, found 8 percent of New York’s population at the start of the decade has left to other states. Thirty percent of them moved to Florida; another third moved to neighboring New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

The shift also resulted in a 13 percent drop in the average incomes of New Yorkers, as households with higher incomes left the state, the report found. The report suggested the reason for the migration is the state’s high taxes and high cost of living. The majority of the people who left came from New York City, which lost 1.1 million people to other states and other places in New York.

While most left the state, some moved north within New York. Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties, for example, had population increases, as did the Albany area.

Wendell Cox, an Illinois-based researcher who led the study, said New York, particularly in the New York City area, had seen home prices over the last decade greatly outpace incomes compared to other states. Also, New York is among the highest taxed states in the country, he said.

But he said it also has to do with people moving to warm-weather states at a greater rate.

“The issues of cost and taxation are likely to be driving issues,” he said. “But no matter what you do, I don’t anticipate you’ll grow as fast as Arizona.”

In upstate New York, which has some counties that have had the highest property taxes to home values in the country, the migration out of the state was at a slower rate, the report found.

The Rochester region, for example, saw a population drop of about 43,000, or 4.2 percent, compared to the 14-percent decline suffered by New York City. In Westchester County, the migration out of New York led to a 2.7 percent decrease in population.

Overall, the state’s population grew by 2.7 percent between 2000 and 2008, despite the number of people who left. The report said the primary reason was an influx of 876,969 immigrants, who made up 22 percent of the state’s population in 2008, compared to 17 percent in 1995.

Still, New York’s population growth rate was slower than most of the nation, ranking it 41 out of 50 states from 2000 to 2008.

Other findings in the report:

— The annual net loss of New Yorkers to other states ranged from nearly 250,000 people in 2005 to 126,000 last year, with the decrease attributed to the national economic decline.

— In 2006-07 alone, the migration flow out of New York resulted in a $4.3 billion loss in taxpayer income. New Yorkers moving to other states had average incomes between 2006 and 2007 of $57,144, while the average income of households moving into New York was $50,533.

Here’s a look at how many people in each county migrated to other states from 2000 to 2008, according to a report from the Empire Center for Public Policy. The report came from an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the IRS…

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Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
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Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130


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.