Shortly after taking office, New York City Mayor Eric Adams predicted that the ongoing exodus of New Yorkers from the Big Apple would taper off once the city was fully reopened he began to get the crime situation under control. He even went so far as to predict that some of those who had left would begin to return. They may eventually prove correct, but there are certainly no signs of it happening yet. A new analysis of motor vehicle data shows that the number of Gotham residents who moved to Florida accelerated significantly during the first four months of 2022. The numbers were in the tens of thousands and that figure doesn’t include all of the people who moved to other states. But can you really blame them? (NY Post)
New York has fully reopened after the strict restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic — but migration from the Empire State to Florida has accelerated this year, according to new data.
A total of 21,546 New Yorkers swapped their driver’s licenses for the Sunshine State version during the first four months of this year — a 12% increase from the same period in 2021.
The 2022 totals are 55% higher than the first four months of the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.
Mayor Eric Adams has speculated that the Florida exodus would wane — and that some evacuees would return — once the city reopened.
These aren’t trivial numbers. A more than ten percent increase over the same period last year and a 55% jump over the pre-pandemic period adds up to a lot of people. New York State already lost one congressional seat following the 2020 census and if this trend continues, they’re going to lose another one in 2031.
The mass migration to Florida has been bad enough that Mayor Adams began putting up billboards in Florida urging the departed to come back to New York. He pitched his city as a “haven for free speech,” in an apparent reference to a new Florida law restricting the teaching of age-inappropriate materials to the youngest schoolchildren. Ron DeSantis responded by leasing billboards promoting Florida in New York City. So if nobody else gets anything out of this war, at least the advertising companies will make a few bucks.
Last year, 61,728 New York state residents registered for Florida licenses. If the current trend persists, more than that will be heading south by the end of this year.
The COVID situation is mostly under control in New York now, so shouldn’t the exodus be tapering off? That seemed to be the theory favored by City Hall. But the pandemic obviously wasn’t the only thing driving people away. It’s far more likely that basic quality of life issues are prompting people to leave. Rampant crime has made the city an increasingly dangerous place to live, particularly in the subways. The streets are overrun by the homeless and “aggressive panhandlers.” The cost of living is through the roof and affordable rental rates are nearly impossible to find.
Asking “why would people leave” seems to miss the mark entirely. The better question is, why wouldn’t they leave? But Ron DeSantis shouldn’t be getting too excited about this trend. As more New Yorkers pitch their tents in Florida, more of them will be registering to vote. And you can rest assured that many of them will be voting for the same types of politicians who have ruined New York City over the past few decades. Before you know it, they might do the same thing to Florida.