The mass exodus of residents leaving New York State is not exclusive to upstate, and has spread to the New York City, Westchester and Long Island.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 population estimates are out, and the numbers show that nearly 50,000 New Yorkers left the Empire State, with a notable increase in Nassau and Westchester counties.
In total, statewide, 48,500 people left New York, which was one of just nine states to lose population over the previous year - a 0.25 percent decline that leaves the state’s population at approximately 19.5 million people. It is the third straight year that New York has seen a population decrease, according to the Census Bureau.
Westchester reported a loss of 1,700 residents to bring the population to approximately 967,600. An additional 1,300 residents reported a move out of the area the previous year. Rockland, Dutchess and Orange counties reported slight gains, while Putnam County recorded a slight loss in residents.
New York City lost 439,523 of its 8,400,000 residents: 18,000 in Queens, 13,500 in Brooklyn, 7,500 in the Bronx and 1,000 in Manhattan. Staten Island recorded a gain of 663.
According to reports, the population drop may cause New York to lose up to two congressional seats by 2022, dropping it from 27 to 25 members in office.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump was questioned about comments he made in 2017 stating that upstate New York residents should consider a mass exodus out of the state. The commander-in-chief quickly doubled down on them.
"If New York isn’t gonna treat them better, I would recommend they go to another state where they can get a great job,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I love those people. Those people are my voters. They’ve been treated very badly.”
The comments did not go unheard in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, and the governor responded when asked a question about it at an event held by the Association for a Better New York.”
“Trump talking about Upstate New York is like me talking about Antarctica: I have never been there and I know nothing about it,” Cuomo said in response. Jobs are coming back ... So it's a totally different economic reality that he's talking about.”
Cuomo has previously blamed Trump and the federal administration’s new SALT policy that has hurt New Yorkers.
"The federal administration's SALT policy is an economic civil war that helps red states at the expense of blue states, and we are now seeing the potentially devastating effect of it in the form of significantly lower tax receipts," he said. "These changes hurt our economy and make New York less competitive, and we will not stop ringing the alarm bell about this punitive policy until Congress reverses it.”
According to Cuomo’s Office, the combined state/local tax rate for high-income New Yorkers is the second highest in the country. The top one percent of taxpayer accounts for nearly half (46 percent) of State Income Tax liability. More than 95 percent of the tax increase from SALT falls on the top 20% of taxpayers - these taxpayers pay 87 percent of New York income taxes.
Cuomo said that the tax reforms encourage New York’s wealthiest to move to other states, “and even if a small number of high-income taxpayers leave the state, it would harm state revenues” and impact funding for education, healthcare, infrastructure and a planned middle-class tax cut.
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