Domestic migration between 2010-2018 by percent of state population

A few bits about how New York State's population is changing

domestic migration by state population percentage

This is map of change in state population between 2010 and 2018 due to domestic migration, by percent. Red represents increase, blue decrease. (Is there a clickable map inside? Do you even have to ask?)

You probably saw the headlines this week about how New York State led the nation in population loss between 2017 and 2018, according to new Census Bureau estimates.

Here are a few bits to fill out the picture:

+ New York is estimated to have had 19,542,209 people as of July 1, 2018.

+ Between 2017 and 2018 it's estimated to have lost 48,510 people. That's 0.2 percent of the state's population. The total number is highest in the nation. By percent of state population, it's the fourth highest.

+ New York's population is estimated to be up between 2010 and 2018 by roughly 164,000 people. Compared to the rest of the states, that's about middle of the pack by total number and near the bottom by percentage (#43).

+ Between 2010 and 2018, New York's done more or less OK when it comes to adding people by birth. The 1.95 million babies born in the state ranks third in the nation behind California and Texas. (New York is #4 nationally for population.)

+ What's really cutting into New York's overall population is that a lot of people are moving to other states. Between 2010 and 2018 New York has lost almost 1.2 million people who have moved elsewhere. A continued influx of people from out of the country -- some 674,000 -- in that time has helped prop the numbers up. But on net New York is still down 523,216 for migration.

Why are people leaving?

Every time these sorts of numbers come out there's a back-and-forth over why people are leaving. It's the taxes -- or not. It's the weather -- or not. It's state government -- or not. It's a problem of the rural/urban divide -- or not. It's century-scale trends in deindustrialization, automation, trade, and urbanization -- or not. It's one of those issues where everyone can probably find some angle to fit their preconceived notions.

But this is a real issue facing the state. And the reasons are almost certainly multiple and complicated. It would be worthwhile for the state and its many research institutions and think tanks to actually make a comprehensive effort to figure out what's going on.

Clickable map

Look up -- it's at the top in large format.


What people fail to consider (and the mainstream media rarely mentions) is that the population loss is a NET loss. So, when it's reported that the state "lost" 48,000 people, it doesn't mean that 48,000 people moved out of state! A portion of the loss is deaths, and with the aging of the Baby Boom generation and an increase in the number of people age 65 and older, we are seeing a lot of deaths. Of course, there are also deaths of people in other age groups, due to the opioid epidemic, accidents, illnesses, etc.

On the other side of the equation are births. With a high median age in New York, especially in rural counties, we have a relatively low birth rate.

I agree that there needs to be more exploration of the causes of net population decline in NYS, but let's start by accurately interpreting what the data mean!

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