Why People are Moving Out of Long Island
Looking back on 2021, we experienced a year as turbulent as the one before. Supply chain breakdowns, a volatile political climate, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic created ripples felt across virtually every American city, household, and industry. What happened to real estate right here on Long Island was no exception.
The first wave of the pandemic—which locked us down inside our homes—drove New York City dwellers towards the more spacious suburbs of Long Island in a major shift that ignited a record-breaking real estate market. Today, Long Island homeowners are making waves again—only this time packing up their things and moving across the country.
According to estimates from the United States Census Bureau, residents are leaving New York in droves. The top reasons come down to cost of living, poor job growth, taxes, and harsh winters. Between New York being one of the hardest hit areas from COVID-19 in the world and more work from home flexibility, more residents are heading for areas like rural New England as others flock to the south for warmer weather and less expenses.
The New York State exodus rate climbs.
New York is among the most moved from states over the past year. More people moved out of New York than moved in with outbound moves making up a little over two thirds (63.1 percent) of all moves.
It’s no surprise—New York has ranked among the top ten states experiencing the largest exoduses for the last decade. However, the pandemic changed the reasons why people move and contributed to New York’s climb toward the top of the “moved out of state” list. Long Island and NYC both saw drastic movement out.
Now the state with the third-highest exodus rate in the country, New York is just behind California and Texas. About 319,000 residents fled New York between July 2020 and July 2021 according to US Census Bureau data.
Texas—which grew by 310,288 people—notched the country’s largest population gain. Next on the list is Florida, which grew by 211,196 residents. More open than New York during the pandemic, Texas, Florida, and other states recommended—rather than required—face coverings among other key perks including the chance to be more present, slow down, and connect with others.
Who is moving out of Long Island?
Retirement-ready baby boomers accounted for more than half (58%) of people moving out last year. COVID-19 accelerated retirement plans among the 55 and older crowd, especially as the flexibility of remote work became the norm.
Between warmer weather and a cheaper housing market—where boomers can find homes double the size for only a couple of hundred dollars more a month—states like California, Texas, North Carolina, and Washington began sounding like music to their ears.
Young adults on Long Island made up another large segment of the moving out crowd. (Roughly 71 percent of young adults residing in Long Island want to leave in the next five years.) Their top reasons to move include a lack of prospective jobs, little room for improvement, and not enough income to afford expensive housing.
According to a recent survey, as much as 41% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 still live with their parents—and that is the case right here on Long Island. The cost of living here mirrors the New York metro area, motivating young people to move to Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and other places outside of NYC. The average family with two children must bring in $139,545 per year combined to afford a normal life on Long Island.
The young crowd is searching for up-and-coming, flourishing, and growing cities. Boca Raton, Myrtle Beach, Denver, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Portland top the list, each one showing great promise in the last decade in development and quality of life.
Why are people moving?
It’s no surprise to see people moving out of a place with high rental prices and low average incomes. Today, over 45% of people earn less than the six figures required to cover the basic expenses of living on Long Island. Between stagnant salaries and a lack of profitable jobs, moving just makes sense for some people.
The promise of a new job remains one of the top reasons why people move despite decreasing as a factor over the last year. Today, most people (29.l4%) want to move to be closer to family. (Family and job also top the list of reasons people move into New York.) More reasons to move include lifestyle (24.28%), cost (11.69%), and health (7.02%). People are also moving out of New York for more specific secondary reasons:
- 39% for political reasons
- 37% for lower taxes
- 38% for climate change
- 45% for lower living costs
- 43% for better culture
- 32% for better weather
Unlike job relocations led by external forces—like better pay or the chance to climb the proverbial ladder—family-driven relocations happen from internal and emotional motivations. We also see more family-driven relocations as people age with the top reasons ranging from needing help to the birth of a grandchild to the desire to live in warmer climates with chiller vibes.
In 2021, we saw a notable increase in people moving to be closer to family and friends since the height of pandemic in 2020. And those numbers are significantly higher than back in 2015. The numbers confirm how we increasingly value time with family as we age—and never more so than over the last two years.
Where are people moving to?
It’s no surprise to hear New Yorkers are moving to Florida. What’s interesting is the flow of relocations between The Big Apple and The Sunshine State since the start of the pandemic. Florida now receives almost 1,000 new residents each day.
The great migration to Florida is about more than just the good year-round weather. More generous tax legislation (and no state income tax) means Florida residents can dodge the up to 13% of state and city taxes New York residents pay every year.
Another attraction to Florida is the lifestyle. Sunny days fill the calendar with special moments to share with family and friends on some of the most beautify beaches in the country. The welcoming atmosphere, gastronomic wealth, events, nightlife, shops, and business hubs make Florida a unique place to live.
Homes are more affordable in Florida, too. Residents enjoy one of the most attractive costs per square meter in the country. Unlike the cramped and expensive apartments characteristic of New York, the plans across Florida (and especially Miami) are spacious, well distributed, and complete with stunning views of the sea or skyline.
But not every New Yorker heads south to the sandy beaches of Florida. More top states New Yorkers are moving to include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
The Great Resignation
The pandemic forced us to rethink what matters in life and to act—and in some cases, move—based on those reflections. One of the major things we reflected on is work. And month over month, last year saw more “quits” than ever before.
In November, there were 11 million jobs available in the country and just 6.9 million people looking. We saw low-wage workers moving on to better jobs in better-paying industries as well as people working in higher-paying industries finding new opportunities with more flexibility in how and where to work. The numbers help explain how we feel about remote work:
- 68% of Americans prefer remote work over in-office work
- 45% of Americans would rather quit their job or immediately seek remote work if required to return to the office full-time
- More than 25% of respondents would quit pending a return-to-the-office policy
- 85% of Americans prefer to apply for jobs with remote flexibility. (Just 15% would apply for a role requiring full-time, onsite work).
The bottom line: workers emerged from the pandemic with a better sense of worth. We adopted a new perspective on work/life balance, proved the success of an alternate work model, and applied that model to drive a better quality of life. Should we hold on to the same values, we could see even more people moving out of Long Island over the next few years.
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