This is a trend that was already underway as soon as the pandemic began to break out in the United States. People have begun fleeing the larger cities in droves, often offering a variety of reasons for doing so. But in New York City, the exodus is not only failing to slow down but, if anything, it’s accelerating. The most recent report on population changes in the Big Apple shows that more than 300,000 denizens of New York City have moved to locations outside the city (or the state) since the virus blew into town. And the number who packed their things and flew the coop just over the summer is well more than twice the number doing so during the same period in 2019. (NY Post)
More than 300,000 New Yorkers have bailed from the Big Apple in the last eight months, new stats show.
City residents filed 295,103 change of address requests from March 1 through Oct. 31, according to data The Post obtained from the US Postal Service under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Since the data details only when 11 or more forwarding requests were made to a particular county outside NYC, the number of moves is actually higher. And a single address change could represent an entire household, which means far more than 300,000 New Yorkers fled the five boroughs.
Some of the previous reports we’ve seen were based on some less-than-definitive data, usually taken from surveys of real estate transactions. This one seems to be a little more solid since the data was extracted from change of address requests filed with the Post Office. Nearly everyone who moves files on of those, no matter if they are renters or owners. This came as something of a surprise to me because I wasn’t aware you could get those numbers via FOIA. Perhaps the names are removed to protect the privacy of the customers?
No matter how you slice it, the numbers are not small. For the period of March through July, the Post Office received 244,895 requests to begin forwarding mail to addresses outside of the city. For the same period in 2019, they received 101,342.
One analyst from the Manhattan Institute has been tracking these trends and has identified the primary reasons given by those who are fleeing. Among the most common is the pandemic, of course. New York City was probably the hardest hit metropolitan area this year. With so many millions of people packed together in such high density, that’s not surprising. But that’s not the only reason. One fallout from the pandemic was the loss of more than 100,000 jobs, primarily in the restaurant and bar industries. New York City is simply too expensive of a place to live on unemployment checks.
Beyond that, the next most common reason cited was the rising crime rates and violent riots in the streets. Gotham is on track to set records for both shootings and murders not seen in well over a decade. Families with children are also blaming the way the public school systems have shut down and reopened, only to shut down yet again and shift to “virtual learning.” This just isn’t working out for most families and they have learned that many of the schools in upstate New York and nearby Connecticut are safely up and running.
This is the real-world version of Escape From New York. Those being left behind may benefit from lower rent or real estate costs. But if they can’t safely leave their homes at night, how much longer will they stay?