The population of New York State has barely increased during the 2010s, steadily shrinking as a share of the national total—and the biggest reason for the trend has been a heavy outflow of New Yorkers to other states. In line with a long-term pattern, the Empire State has lost a net 1.4 million residents to the rest of the country since 2010, including nearly 181,000 in 2018-19 alone, according to the latest annual Census Bureau estimates.

Where are those New Yorkers headed? What are their average income levels once they settle in their new home states? And since net migration is a two-way street—calculated as the total number moving out of the state minus the total moving in—what states are New Yorkers in-migrants coming from, and how much are they earning once they arrive here?

Some answers can be gleaned from the most reliable current source of inter- and intra-state migration data: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In recent years, the IRS has begun measuring the movement of tax filers and their dependents in two-year segments. Based on seven years’ worth of newly updated IRS migration data covering two-year segments from 2010-11 to 2017-18, the Empire Center has mapped interstate movements of New Yorkers on a statewide, regional and county level, as shown below.**

** The IRS data for 2011-2018 count a total net migration loss of 963,182 New York income tax filers and their dependents to other states during the seven-year period. That number is a large subset of the total net out-migration estimated for the same period by the Census Bureau, which also considers a variety of sources and methodologies not limited to tax return data.

The IRS data show Florida has been the leading destination for New York out-migrants, accounting for 21.3 percent of the net total (calculated as out-migrants minus in-migrants) during the seven-year period. The average annual income of New Yorkers moving to Florida between 2010-11 and 2017-18 was $90,310.

Rounding out the top 10 net destinations for New Yorkers were New Jersey (15.5 percent), Pennsylvania (7.1 percent), North Carolina (8.1 percent), California (6.4 percent), Texas (6.1 percent), Connecticut (5.6 percent), Georgia (4.5 percent), South Carolina (3.5 percent) and Virginia (3.1 percent). These 10 states collectively account for 81 percent of New York’s out-migration losses.

When migration patterns from New York are examined at the regional and county level, some different patterns emerge. For example, while Florida was the leading net destination for seven upstate regions and Long Island, neighboring Connecticut was the top destination for migrating Westchester County residents, and New Jersey was the top destination for out-migrants from New York City.

For more information, contact Empire Center at


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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