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People are fleeing New York in droves, and now the state could lose a House seat — or two
Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

People are fleeing New York in droves, and now the state could lose a House seat — or two

Political consequences

More residents left New York over the last year than did residents from any other state, new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show.

According to early census figures, a net total of 126,355 people packed their bags and ditched the Empire State between July 2019 and July 2020, marking a 0.65% percent drop. That's the most by any state in the nation by both number and percentage.

Following close behind New York, in terms of percentage loss, were Illinois (0.63%), Hawaii (0.61%), and West Virginia (0.58%). Meanwhile, the big population gainers over the past year were western and southern states such as Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, South Carolina, and Florida.

The New York Posted noted that while the state has been losing residents since 2016, this year's drop was significantly higher than in years past.

The Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank located in Albany, said if the numbers are confirmed when the census is certified next year, the 2010s will become the first decade since the 1970s during which New York experienced an overall population decline.

"The 2020 estimated New York population represented a net decline of 41,326, or 0.21%, from the official decennial census count in 2010," the group wrote, noting that the state's usual population boost from foreign immigration has not been able to keep up with the resident exodus over the last decade.

"New York's sagging population total is due mainly to an outmigration flow of 1.4 million people to other states since 2010," it said.

To make matters worse, the population decline in New York is not merely an embarrassment for the blue state, but also comes with serious political consequences.

USA Today reported that due to its population loss compared to the rest of the country, New York will "certainly" lose one House seat — and perhaps two — when a congressional reapportionment is conducted in 2022.

New York is currently tied with Florida with 27 House seats, the third most of any state following California (53) and Texas (36). But Florida is expected to surpass New York during reapportionment. The Sunshine State surpassed New York in 2014 as the third most populous state, and the gap has continued to widen since then.

For years, critics of New York's Democratic policies have argued that the increasing expanse of government and economic woes such as soaring property taxes are driving residents out of the state. But in 2018, ignoring those concerns, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed the population decline on bad weather.

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