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August 7, 2003

New York led nation in outmigration during late 1990s, Census says

New York State led the nation in the net number of residents who moved to other states from 1995 to 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

More than 1.6 million New Yorkers moved to Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and other states during the latter 1990s. Some 726,000 Americans moved from other states into New York during the period. The resulting "net migration," according to the Census Bureau, was around 874,000. That figure was higher than any other state's net loss.

As a proportion of population, the Empire State's net loss due to interstate migration was third-worst in the nation, behind Hawaii and Alaska.

The new report examined population mobility over a five-year period. Previous Census estimates for individual years have shown that the number of New Yorkers moving elsewhere rose in the early to mid-1900s, declined later in the decade, and rose again in 2002.

Those trends reflect changes in the state's economic performance relative to the nation. During the early 1990s, New York trailed far behind most other states in employment trends. Its job growth rate grew closer to the national average during the middle and later part of the decade, after Governor Pataki and the Legislature began to improve the state's business climate, and surpassed the nation in 1999 and 2000. Since 2001, due partly to the September 11 terrorist attacks, employment trends in the Empire State have again fallen behind the national pace.

Northeastern states generally lost residents to other states, particularly in the South, during the late 1990s. Across the region, however, the net loss was an average of 25 residents for every 1,000, while in New York that proportion was almost twice as high, at 49 per 1,000 residents.

Another new Census report showed that New York led the nation in outmigration of older residents, in particular. For every 1,000 individuals aged 65 and older, the Empire State lost a net 45 residents to other states. Among such older residents, other northern states such as New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts had outmigration rates less than half that of New York.

Where New Yorkers Went: Net Domestic Migration, 1995-2000
Destination State Net Gain from New York
Florida 238,012
New Jersey 109,395
Pennsylvania 45,001
North Carolina 80,465
California 30,792
Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

"Net migration" refers to difference between the number of New Yorkers moving to other states, and the number of people moving from other states into New York.