by Steve Bittenbender
New York City saw a population decline of more than 300,000 people over a 12-month span ending July 1, 2021, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The city’s population fell by 305,665 people or 3.5 percent. As The Empire Center noted, the metropolis accounted for almost all of the state’s one-year record decline.
Losing that many people in one year, the nonpartisan, independent public policy think tank said, also nearly wiped out half of what the city gained in the previous decade.
The release shows a pattern of domestic migration during the months after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when New York had some of the most restrictive policies in place to control the spread of the virus.
The city’s four largest boroughs, which also serve as counties, ranked among the nation’s 10 worst declines – both from numeric and percentage perspectives.
According to Census Bureau data, in Manhattan, or New York County, the migration of 117,375 people was the second-largest decline in total. The 6.9 percent drop was the worst out of any county with at least 20,000 people.
Brooklyn, or Kings County, saw a decrease of 95,022 or 3.5 percent – fourth- and sixth-worst. Queens ranked fifth on the numeric decline, losing 74,321, and the 3.1 percent drop tied for ninth-worst.
The Bronx lost 47,706, representing a 3.2 percent drop. Both figures came in eighth on their respective charts.
While COVID-19 certainly impacted New York’s drops, it likely wasn’t the only factor.
Unite NY released survey results earlier this month showing nearly 39 percent of New York State residents saying they’ve thought about moving out. The number rose to 41.1 percent for New York City residents.
Of those considering leaving, 36.7 percent statewide and 23.2 percent in New York City cite taxes being too high as the primary reason. The same percentage of New York City respondents also say they’d leave to find either a better job or economic opportunity.
There have also been concerns about public safety issues in New York, with Republicans hammering Democratic leaders in the city and Albany on bail reforms and other issues the GOP said make residents less safe.
On Monday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former cop, gave an update on changes that he said would curb violent crime while at the same time respecting people’s rights. In the first six days, the mayor said a precinct in the Bronx took 10 guns off the street and made 31 arrests.
The plan was to expand the pilot program to five other precincts across the city.
Adams promised there would not be a “mixed message” about public safety in his administration.
“Do it right,” he said. “Don’t violate the liberties of people, but go after those guns and those who are the trigger pullers and dangerous in our city. You don’t have to wonder what our position is. It is public safety and justice. You don’t have to tradeoff between the two.”
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