More people moving back to NYC than leaving, finally
Since July 2021, the city has gained an estimated 6,332 permanent movers, indicating a gradual return to New York City
On Monday, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer released an analysis of the pandemic’s impact on monthly migration patterns into and out of the city — showing that finally, after months of net loss, the number of people moving to the city is more than those moving away.
Using data published by the United States Postal Service (USPS) from change-of-address forms, the analysis confirms that New York City’s net residential out-migration tripled from 2019 to 2020.
The data show that the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods experienced the most population loss; residents in the wealthiest 10 percent of city neighborhoods, as measured by median income, were 4.6 times more likely to move than other residents during 2020. In Brooklyn, according to the report, Community Districts 2 and 6, stretching from DUMBO to the waterfront to Park Slope, showed the greatest out-migration.
In more recent months, however, the reopening of office buildings, the return of in-person school, and the rebirth of arts and entertainment have helped to attract movers to the city.
Since July 2021, USPS data has shown an estimated net gain of 6,332 permanent movers, mainly in neighborhoods that experienced the greatest flight.
“New York City is steadily reopening and New Yorkers are returning to the city we love—that’s why it’s vital that we invest in the value proposition that is New York City and make sure we continue to be the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Stringer.
“That means investing in our classrooms and teachers so our children get the very best education, investing in affordable and accessible child care so parents can return to work, and investing in our streetscapes and green spaces to ensure that our neighborhoods are walkable and breathable,” he said.
Major findings of the analysis include:
- In the first three months of the pandemic, from March to May 2020, more than 60 percent of net moves from city addresses were marked as temporary, indicating that the person or household intended to return, but since then 79 percent of net moves have been marked as permanent.
- Excluding moves marked as “temporary,” net out-migration from the city increased by an estimated 130,837 from March 2020 through June 2021, as compared to pre-pandemic trends.
- Residents from the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods were the most likely to leave. Residents in the wealthiest 10 percent of city neighborhoods, as measured by median income, were 4.6 times more likely to leave than other residents during 2020, recording 109 net move-outs per 1,000 residents vs. 24 elsewhere. Moves from wealthier neighborhoods were also more likely to be recorded as temporary. About half of net out-migration from the wealthiest 10 percent of neighborhoods was marked as temporary in 2020, compared to 44 percent in the next wealthiest decile and less than 30 percent elsewhere.
- In September 2021, New York City public schools and colleges opened to full-time, in-person learning; some employers, including city government, called office workers back; and the curtains rose on Broadway after an 18-month shutdown. Not surprisingly, these events coincided with an improvement in net residential migration to the city, particularly in the neighborhoods that experienced the greatest flight in the spring of 2020.
- Since July 2021, USPS data has shown an estimated net gain of 6,332 permanent movers, indicating a gradual return to New York City, mainly in neighborhoods that experienced the greatest flight. On a per-capita basis, the largest net gains over the summer were in Chelsea/Midtown, Murray Hill/Gramercy, Battery Park City/Greenwich Village, and Chinatown/Lower East Side.
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