New York, again, leads nation in population decline. And it could now lose two House seats.
ALBANY - The Big Apple is getting smaller and smaller.
New York's population declined further than any other state in the nation, new figures released Tuesday by the US Census Bureau show.
The population of the Empire State fell by 126,355 people to 19.3 million between July 2019 and July 2020, a decrease of 0.65% according to preliminary figures. That is the largest part of a state, in total and in percentage.
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The population decline continues to be an issue for New York and could have an impact in 2022 during the federal redistribution. At that rate, New York could lose up to two seats in the US House of Representatives. it will surely lose one, drop it from 27 to 26 seats, and affect its clout in Washington.
New York could also be on track for its first population decline in a decade since the 1970s, according to the Empire Center, a fiscal conservative think tank in Albany.
New York's population has been invigorated by immigrants and newborns, but even that has subsided in recent years, E.J. McMahon, the group's founder, wrote.
"The estimated population of New York in 2020 was a net decrease of 41,326, or 0.21%, from the official 2010 decade - mainly because foreign immigration to the state has declined sharply since 2017, in line with a national trend "said he wrote.
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Florida surpassed New York as the third largest state in the country in 2014, and the gap has widened since then.
Florida has gained 241,256 people since July 2019, making it a population of 21.7 million. Only Texas, the second largest state after California, gained more people in the past year, census data showed.
New York had an exodus of about 1.4 million people over the past decade, and about 21% of them went to Florida, by far most of the other states, last year data showed.
The recent decline in New York was part of an overall decline of 153,065 people in the northeast between July 2019 and July 2020, most of all regions in the country.
New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut saw modest population decreases over the past year.
Nationwide, only Illinois approached New York as a percent of population decline, down 79,487 people, or 0.63%, from last year.
Overall, the nation has gained nearly 21 million people since 2010, the Empire Center said, up 6.7%
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Governor Andrew Cuomo has downplayed the population decline as the state has been criticized for high taxes driving people to cheaper states.
In 2018, Cuomo was beaten for saying the winter backcountry weather was a major factor for people moving elsewhere, especially the south.
"More people are leaving the backcountry? Yes. People will make demographic decisions about where to live," Cuomo said two years ago.
"Some of them are climate based. Some of them are personal. So the population decline in Upstate state is not new. People left New York state because they had to in the past."
Cuomo has pointed to lower income taxes put in place by its administration and a cap on property tax, which has capped growth since 2011 as the state tried to cut the cost of living.
Follow Joseph Spector on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
This article originally appeared on the New York State Team: Population Decline in COVID, NY: New Yorkers Move to Other States
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