New York leads nation in percentage of residents leaving-Empire Center for State Policy
That's as if the entire populations of Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, White Plains and West Babylon combined had packed up and left.
For the second consecutive decade, New York led the nation in the percentage of residents leaving for other states, according to the report by the Empire Center for State Policy.
The population loss is "the ultimate barometer of New York's attractiveness as a place to work, live and do business," said the report's co-author, E.J. McMahon. "It's the ultimate indication that we've been doing things wrong."
Most analysts blamed New York's high taxes and skyrocketing cost of living for the mass exodus.
The Tax Foundation ranked New York highest in the nation in the combined state and local tax burden in 2008. And as small-business lobbyist Mike Durant noted, New York has also "consistently ranked worst or in the top three worst in business climate.
"You can't suck every penny out of people and expect them to remain in New York," added Durant, New York state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.
Since 1960, New York has lost 7.3 million residents to other states -- a net loss of 2.5 million people after adding in an influx of 4.8 million new immigrants, the study found.
Even counting the state's high influx of immigrants, New York still suffered a bigger net loss than all but three other states during the last decade, according to the analysis of 2010 Census data by the fiscally conservative think tank.
Overall, the state's population grew by 2 percent between 2000 and 2010, but that rate fell far behind states with lower taxes, growing economies and warmer climates like Nevada, Florida and Arizona, the three fastest-growing states.
The hemorrhaging of New York residents has been averaging between 130,000 to 160,000 a year since 1980.
One result of New York's declining status as a population center has been a shrinking congressional delegation and the political power that goes with it. The state's House delegation will slip to just 27 next year, down from 45 in the 1940s.
Gov. Cuomo has tried to tackle the root causes of the population decline, particularly upstate, which has been hit the hardest....
"Domestic out-migration is predominantly upstate," said Ken Pokalsky, senior director of government affairs for The Business Council of New York State. Economically, "Upstate's been flat and falling," he said.
A spokesman for Cuomo said the new administration is attempting to reverse the decades-long flight problem.
"Gov. Cuomo believes a hostile business climate and high taxes have and would continue to drive people and businesses from our state," said his spokesman, Josh Vlasto, touting the governor's success in capping property taxes, holding the line on state taxes and focusing on job creation during his first year in office.
- "The needle's pointed in the right direction," McMahon concurred. "But if it begins and ends with this year, you're not going to get very far.""