Escape to New York: Pandemic exiles steadily returning to Manhattan neighborhoods, Stringer report finds

New York City’s population is slowly growing in the months amid the pandemic, especially in The Village and Lower Manhattan areas.

Using data from the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) change of address forms, the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report analyzing the pandemic’s impact on monthly migration patterns into and out of the city.

“New York City is steadily reopening and New Yorkers are returning to the city we love—that’s why it’s vital that we invest in the value proposition that is New York City and make sure we continue to be the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Comptroller Stringer. “That means investing in our classrooms and teachers so our children get the very best education, investing in affordable and accessible child care so parents can return to work, and investing in our streetscapes and green spaces to ensure that our neighborhoods are walkable and breathable. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine our city and build back stronger than ever from the losses of the pandemic.”

According to the data, New York City’s net residential out-migration tripled from 2019 to 2020. The wealthiest neighborhoods in the city experienced the most population loss; residents in the wealthiest 10 percent of city neighborhoods, as measured by median income, were 4.6 times more likely to move than other residents during 2020.

The data found that by zip code, the largest residential losses in New York City as a whole during 2020 occurred in the Upper West Side, with zip codes 10025, 10023, and 10024 having the highest change in move-outs over the course of the year. In these zip codes, 10025 lost 9,274 residents in 2020; 10023 lost 7,976 and 10024 lost 7,311. The next highest losses were found in Chelsea’s 10011 zip code with 7,622 losses in 2020, followed by the Upper East Side zip code 10128 with 7,119 losses.

From June to September 2021, the city overall lost a net 39,961 residential movers, a slight improvement from a net loss of 40,494 in 2019. However, since July 2021, data from the USPS shows that there has been an estimated net gain of 6,332 permanent movers. The largest net gains happened to be in neighborhoods such as Chelsea/Midtown, Murray Hill/Gramercy, Battery Park City/Greenwich Village, and Chinatown/Lower East Side, all of which experienced greater flight when New Yorkers were leaving the city.

As to where these New Yorkers went after leaving the Big Apple, Comptroller Stringer’s report found that many picked up and moved to Florida, with net in-migration increasing by 93,601 during 2020, growing from inflows of 82,943 in 2019 to 176,544 in 2020 in the Sunshine State. The Second highest net gain was found in Texas with a 46,238 net gain.

Read the full report at