The Big Apple’s population has been hollowed out during the COVID-19 pandemic – with Manhattan suffering the biggest population decline among all US counties, according to grim census data released Thursday.
New York County saw its population plunge by 110,958 or 6.9% between July 2020 and July 2021 – coinciding with the pandemic coronavirus.
New York City accounted for four of the top US counties with population losses.
Hudson County in neighboring New Jersey also landed in the top 10, which means the NY metropolitan region accounted for five of the top 10 counties with population losses.
Brooklyn’s population declined by 86,341 residents or 3.5%, the sixth worst percentage in the nation.
The number of residents in “the boogie down” Bronx sunk by 41,490 or 3.2% – the eighth highest percentage drop.
Queens County followed in ninth place with a 3.1% decrease, or 64,648 population loss.
Only Staten Island, Richmond County, escaped the top ten list.
Meanwhile 20,192 people fled Hudson County, or 3.1%. During the 12-month period, the city’s population as a whole plummeted by 3.5 percent or 305,665 people.
Gotham’s one-year population loss erased nearly half of the 629,057 population increase it gained the previous decade, noted EJ McMahon, an analyst for the Empire Center for Public Policy.
Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest county with 9.8 million residents, had the largest numerical loss of people, 159,620.
New York City’s decline was largely driven by residents who moved elsewhere during the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak – a domestic migration outflow of 342,449 people – more than triple its annual migration losses from 2010 to 2020, McMahon’s analysis found. Offsetting that decline was a small “natural increase” of 29,000 people.
Even during the pandemic, births slightly outnumbered deaths in the city.
In many US counties with older populations, deaths had outnumbered births. The city also gained 12,695 immigrants during this period – a tiny bump compared to pre-pandemic years.
“Consistent with news accounts of New Yorkers flooding into the Hamptons, Suffolk County had the largest net domestic migration inflow in absolute terms, gaining 2,138 residents (1.4 per 1,000) after experiencing an annual net migration outflow of 8,000 in the previous decade,” McMahon said. said.
McMahon said the city’s post-pandemic future will depend on whether certain trends during the COVID-19 outbreak take hold, such as remote work instead of going to the office. More city firms are posting remote jobs where employees can work from anywhere.
“Will New York’s post-pandemic population trends become permanent, pointing to a new era of decline for New York City and a mix of modest growth and stagnation elsewhere? Will remote working lead to a repopulation of previously shrinking rural communities in New York? ” he asked.
“Those remain open questions. No doubt some New York City residents flocking to suburbs and rural counties between 2020 and 2021 were already mulling such moves before the pandemic hit, then accelerated their plans when COVID-19 lockdowns began. If that were the case, the census estimates in the next two years would reflect much smaller changes. “
The Empire Center’s analysis shows that more city residents move to neighboring states such as New Jersey and Connecticut than relocated north to the Catskills and mid-Hudson Valley.
Many other Big Apple residents moved further away, to metropolitan areas of the southeast and west that were already growth hot spots, he said.
The new census data highlighted the growth of smaller, less expensive metro areas at the expense of bigger cities such as New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco.
San Francisco County had the second highest percentage loss after Manhattan – 6.7%
But smaller New York’s upstate metro areas have not benefited from the exodus of people from the nation’s most densely populated city.
The benefits of this trend seem to be eluding the metro areas of upstate New York. While rural communities in some regions have rebounded, the more developed counties containing the cities of Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse – and, for that matter, Binghamton, Niagara Falls and Utica – did not grow at all last year, ”McMahon said.