New York State’s population has reached stall speed, up only slightly since the 2010 census and down slightly in the last year—largely because the Empire State continues to export more people than it takes in from other states, according to the latest annual U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
The annual Census data include components of population change—births, deaths, foreign immigration and movement between counties—but do not offer more detail on population flows. Migration trends can be gleaned from the Census Bureau’s periodic American Community Survey, but these data are derived from a statistical sample. But the most reliable and current source of inter- and intra-state migration data originates with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), based on tax return filings.
In recent years, the IRS has begun to measure the movement of tax filers and their dependents in two-year segments, which makes it possible to measure the incomes of state migrants before and after they move to other states and counties. Based on the first five years’ worth of IRS data, covering 2011 to 2016, the Empire Center has mapped interstate movements of New Yorkers on a statewide, regional and county level (see below).
As shown in the nationwide map, Florida was the leading destination for New York out-migrants, accounting for 21.9 percent of the net total (calculated as out-migrants minus in-migrants). Rounding out the top 10 net destinations for New Yorkers were New Jersey (13.6 percent), North Carolina (8.1 percent), Texas (7.4 percent), California (6.7 percent), Pennsylvania (6.4 percent), Connecticut (5.3 percent), Georgia (4.5 percent), South Carolina (3.4 percent) and Virginia (3.2 percent). These 10 states collectively account for 81 percent of New York’s out-migration losses.
When migration patterns are examined at the regional and county level, some different patterns emerge. For example, while Florida is the leading net destination for seven upstate regions and Long Island, for Westchester, it’s Connecticut, and for out-migrants from New York City, it’s New Jersey.
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