Gov. Kathy Hochul kicked off the year vowing to keep New Yorkers from fleeing the state — and Albany responded with a budget deal that’ll only speed up their flight.
Yet Hochul was right to worry: New data from Cornell University show the number of babies born in New York fell from 241,000 in 2011 to 211,000 in 2021, a whopping 13% drop.
The average number of lifetime births per woman fell from 1.85 in 2009 to 1.55 in 2021; the national average is 1.71.
Larger demographic trends play a role, but the simple fact is that people starting families increasingly realize it’ll be a lot easier in some other state.
Toss in pandemic flight, and it’s easy to see why the state’s overall population dropped 2.1%, from 20.11 million in 2020 to 19.67 million last year.
And the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon is citing new IRS data showing the state losing its high-income earners in droves.
“The average adjusted gross income of New Yorkers moving to other states between 2020 and 2021 reached a new all-time high of $130,054,” a 14% spike over the previous year, McMahon wrote.
Taxpayers with incomes over $200,000 made up 10.9% of those who fled, a higher share than among those who left any other state except California, New Jersey and Connecticut.
New York — particularly its wealthy-taxpayer base — seems to be shrinking even faster than Hochul imagined.
What’s behind these trends?
For starters, Cornell’s Leslie Reynolds notes “declining fertility rates are part of greater demographic change” amid new norms for women in the workplace, family life and child-care needs.
The pandemic shift to remote work was another key factor.
McMahon cites the state’s lack of a “variety of housing,” which makes homes expensive, especially for younger couples who’d be having babies here if they stayed.
And yes, some New Yorkers prefer the weather elsewhere, particularly in the South.
Yet the budget deal Hochul and lawmakers reached does virtually nothing to stop the bleeding.
The gov did offer a plan to boost the housing supply and cool prices, but lawmakers shot it down.
They refused to do anything meaningful to fix broken criminal-justice laws that have driven up crime, and they maintained the cap on charter schools, denying families options — even as the State Education Department continues to drive down standards at traditional public schools.
Kicker: Hochul & Co. actually made New York the only state in America where gas hookups (and stoves) will soon be banned.
Does she think that will keep people here and maybe attract new ones — or accelerate the flight out?
State lawmakers can’t do much to make New York’s weather more attractive, but they can certainly stop giving residents more reasons to leave.
This story originally appeared on NYPost