The turning point?

New York State’s population loss rate has officially slowed.

In what may prove a silver lining in the latest economic black cloud, New York lost fewer residents to other states in 2007-8 than during any year in at least a generation… Between July 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008, New York recorded a net loss of 126,000 residents to other states — meaning 126,000 more people moved out than moved in — according to an analysis by demographers at Queens College. Some 257,000 people moved away during those 12 months, the analysis showed, about half the peak of 521,000 in the same 12 months spanning 2005-6. It was the first time the number dipped below 300,000 since the Census Bureau began measuring the annual flows in 1982.

This was something one might have guessed would eventually happen because the economy is crashing everywhere, but it’s a little surprising that it happened so soon. Is it a blip, or a trend?

It appears more Upstaters are staying put (whether they like it or not), while more people from out of state are moving to NYC.

But NYC is probably set to face steeper job losses in the coming year than here in Upstate, as the full impact of the crash of the financial services industry has yet to be felt on its local economy. (Are there going to be jobs for those newcomers?) So it would continue to be in Albany’s interest to re-balance and re-integrate the state’s economy, and to get some of those newcomers to come up here to live and work, so that the state won’t lose more than a couple Congressional seats by 2010.

I was pleased when Matt Driscoll recently had the guts to say it out loud: that New York State has put all its economic eggs in one basket — Wall Street — and is now paying the price.

Mayor Bloomberg wants to “re-train Wall Street workers for new careers.” Maybe the new Upstate Majority Caucus can think of some ways to take that little job off his hands. After all, he’s got a city to run.

5 thoughts on “The turning point?

  1. JS21

    Amazing what the leading edge of another near-Great Depression does to people movement!

    I’m not sure I see any silver lining there, other than more citizens to shoulder the much heavier burden that’s coming.

  2. Mrs. Mecomber

    Not sure what you mean by “it happened so soon.” The economic disaster or the migration out of NYS? If you are referring to the migration, I’m not quite sure where the “soon” comes from, as people have been leaving the state in droves since 1993 or so. Most of the people I knew in high school are gone, and they left in the late 80s.

  3. sean

    i finished ‘team of rivals’ last week. i usually worry about diving into trendy books but this one more than measured up. i was particularly moved by the portrait of william seward, which opened my eyes to the level of his prominence – and the guy absolutely loved auburn and all of upstate new york. during the civil war, when some european nations wavered about whether to support the union or the confederacy, seward took a delegation of european dignitaries on a tour to show them the union’s profound strength. he took them upstate. they visited the booming factory towns along the erie canal. seward pointed out how free labor (even while exploited) trumps slave labor in every fashion. he showed them the countless farms on hill and valley. upstate was the beautiful, rolling engine of the nation, and the visitors were convinced: they backed the north. what is maddening is how we went from then, that attitude, to how we see ourselves now; it was self-inflicted, by government and philosophy, until finally we became almost incapable of seeing what’s around us. our anger, our unhappiness, our frustration, blinds us. sure, we need a turnaround, but more than anything, our way of thinking (and moving forward) is what’s got to change to keep people here. my youngest recently mentioned he wants to stay here to go to syracuse for college in a few years, and i almost choked up: we’ve made a point of raising the kids in an environment where we focused on the beauty and diversity and history of the region – not ignoring the faults, but not drowning ourselves in them – and he doesn’t see a particular reason to leave. he thinks syracuse, and upstate, is a pretty good place. he’s right.


  4. Ellen

    That’s great. Maybe your son can actually be part of the sort of local political changes that we can only dream of and talk about.

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