Call us the Not-So-Big Apple: Census data show New York City lost a staggering 300,000 residents from April 2020 to June 2021.
NYC bureaucrats argue the 2020-2021 numbers are driven by the COVID response that shuttered schools and sent businesses reeling. Yes, this response was disastrous. People couldn’t shop, work or get their kids educated for months on end, so it’s a miracle more didn’t flee.
And now a mainstay of the city’s life, office work, has changed. Gotham will be lucky to get back to 70% of pre-pandemic office occupancy.
But blaming only COVID lets the authors of the bigger catastrophe off the hook, as the pandemic only accelerated a longer trend. New York’s population has been shrinking for years, more so relative to the nation: We had 45 House seats in 1952, 39 in 1982; next year it’ll be 26.
And now we’re headed off the cliff, as the Empire State has led the country in population decline at least since 2019, with a drop of 1.6% overall year on year as of July 2021. Net migration has since 2010 pushed us back below 20 million.
That collapse comes strictly by design, a result of “progressive” policies that drive up crime, wreck schools and crush small business and the middle classes with regulations, high costs and taxes.
From the Climate Leadership Community Protection Act, which is making it impossible for New Yorkers to pay their electric bills and locking in future supply shortages (i.e., blackouts), to our disastrous Raise the Age and no-bail laws, which have fueled a statewide crime wave, to our bank-busting budgets and state education “leadership” that opposes excellence, progressivism tells anyone who can afford it to leave.
The silver lining for progressives: Those who flee tend not to be their voters, so the left gets to eat up an ever-larger piece of the pie that it’s inexorably shrinking.
Mayor Eric Adams is a more-than-welcome exception on crime, schools and the economy. The opposition he meets in Albany and on the City Council is no coincidence.
The absolute population drop now underway marks a crisis point: Wall Street’s been moving back-office jobs out of New York for years, and now big firms are moving their entire operations away. The markets themselves may stay here, but with vanishingly few people and a lot of computer programs doing the trading.
This fall’s elections may be the last chance to veer from the brink, if enough voters revolt.
Otherwise, our legislative masterminds will keep on punishing the citizenry for their own benefit, until there aren’t any citizens left.