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What Are the Top Reasons Behind the Sudden Relocation of New Yorkers?

moving from new york
December 20, 2023

If there’s one thing the last 5 years have taught us, it’s that change is the only constant. And for many New Yorkers, this change caused many of them to choose out-of-state moving to cope. According to a striking article from the New York Post titled "Over 545,000 New Yorkers left the state in 2022 —headed for Florida, Texas and farther: census bureau," the exodus from the Empire State has been nothing short of significant.

But why? What are the driving forces behind this mass movement, and what destinations are capturing the attention of those moving from New York?

The Exodus Unveiled: A Closer Look at Census Data

This past October, the US Census data released state-level movement data, compiled from the completed 2020 census survey. Our Colonial Van Lines team reviewed the data and found interesting trends from our New York residents. As announced by The New York Post, New York saw a shocking number of residents moving from the state.

Before delving into the 'why,' let's take a moment to grasp the 'what’ of this surprising mass relocation.

According to an October 2022 report from the US Census Bureau, over 545,000 New Yorkers bid farewell to the state in 2020. The allure of destinations like Florida, Texas, and beyond has seemingly magnetized the population, prompting a migration wave that has caught the attention of analysts and researchers alike. Moving, it appears, has become more than just a change of address; it's a shift in lifestyle and perspective.

Moving from New York: An Escape or an Opportunity?

Moving, as a concept, often brings to mind the idea of escape. Yet, interestingly, for many New Yorkers, it represents not a fleeing from something but an embracing of new opportunities. It's a curious phenomenon that demands exploration.


Young employee unhappy with excessive work

Economic Factors: The Price of Living in the Empire State

New York, with its glittering skyscrapers and bustling streets, is undoubtedly a city like no other. However, the cost of living in the state is a factor that has been driving individuals and families to seek more affordable alternatives.

Although New York offers an unparalleled cultural and professional landscape, the reality of high apartment rental rates has become a significant concern. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city is towering over the national average, coming to $3,648 for about 605 sq feet, making it financially burdensome for many residents. Here's where the 'moving from New York' trend starts to take shape.

Moving to More Affordable Destinations: Florida, Texas, and Beyond

Moreover, the census data reveals to us that states like Florida and Texas are witnessing an influx of former New Yorkers. But why these specific destinations? Apart from their undeniable allure, the cost of living is a major contributor. Florida, known for its sunny weather and absence of state income tax, becomes an attractive prospect for those seeking financial relief. Texas, with its booming job market and diverse landscapes, is another hotspot for those considering a move.

Overall, we now know that New Yorkers are leaving for more desirable destinations. Here are the top 10 cities where approximately 545,000 New Yorkers moved to in 2023.

  1. Florida: 91,201 or 16%
  2. New Jersey: 75,103 or 13%
  3. Connecticut: 50,670 or 9%
  4. Pennsylvania: 44,807
  5. California: 31,255
  6. Texas: 30,890
  7. North Carolina: 25,024
  8. Massachusetts: 21,186
  9. Virginia: 17,516
  10. Georgia: 16,535

Cross-Comparison for New York City, Tampa, Houston, Hartford, and Philadelphia


1 Bd/1Bth Mo. Rent

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New York: The Glamor Comes at a Cost

As we saw in an earlier section, the cost of living in New York can be a defining factor for most people when deciding on relocation. Like stated previously, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, the heart of the city, hovers around $3600 per month. For many, this cost becomes a limiting factor, prompting a reconsideration of their living situation. However, with so many people leaving New York, we now need to compare the benefits of moving to individual states.


Florida: Sunshine and Affordability

On the flip side, Florida offers a stark contrast. Cities like Miami and Orlando boast average one-bedroom rents of approximately $1,600, providing a considerable financial relief for those accustomed to the higher costs associated with New York living. Florida is also a very tax-friendly state as there is no state income tax, which means that residents of Florida do not have to pay state taxes on their personal income.

Florida also has relatively low property taxes, with the average effective property tax rate in the state being 1.02%. In addition, the state has a relatively low sales tax rate of 6%.

Texas: From the Lone Star State to the Cost-Effective Living

The Lone Star State, particularly cities like Austin and Dallas, showcases competitive rental rates. With an average one-bedroom rent of around $1,200, Texas presents an attractive alternative for those seeking a blend of career opportunities and a more affordable lifestyle.

Similar to Florida, the state does not have a State Income Tax, allowing residents to potentially save thousands of dollars annually.

North Carolina: The Charm of the Carolinas

North Carolina, known for its southern charm, offers a middle-ground option. Cities like Raleigh and Charlotte boast average one-bedroom rents ranging from $1,100 to $1,300, making it an appealing choice for those wanting a change without compromising on affordability.

As with many states outside of New York City, you will need to drive mostly everywhere so we be prepared for increased annual transportation costs at the end of your first year. However, you'll be driving toward some of our country’s best BBQ restaurants.


Pennsylvania: Keystone State, Keystone Savings

Pennsylvania, with cities like Philadelphia, presents another cost-effective option. Average one-bedroom rents in Philadelphia are around $1,500, positioning the state as a more budget-friendly alternative for those moving from New York.

Moving on to everyday expenses, a 2022 report showed that healthcare costs in Philly are 6% below the national average, and groceries cost about 4% less.

And it’s not just about necessities – affordability extends to leisure too. Philadelphia’s food scene, known for its diversity and quality, offers a range of dining options that won’t break the bank. Plus, Philly’s tax rates are often lower compared to other East Coast cities.

For example, the sales tax here is 6%, which is significantly lower than New York City’s 8.875%. So, in the grand scheme of things, living in Philadelphia offers you the vibrant life of a major city, but with a price tag that’s a lot friendlier to your wallet. That’s pretty good math if you ask me.

Connecticut: A Suburban Escape

While Connecticut isn't necessarily a bargain, its suburban appeal comes at a price tag lower than Manhattan. Cities like Stamford and New Haven feature average one-bedroom rents ranging from $1,800 to $2,000, offering a compromise between proximity to New York and a quieter lifestyle.

Aside from rental responsibilities, with an address in Connecticut you’ll be among some of the happiest people in the US. It seems that, by and large, folks are very happy with their jobs while living in Connecticut.

I think the pay has something to do with job satisfaction. The average household income in Connecticut clocks in at nearly $80,000, which is well above the national average of $71,000. Indeed, the well paying jobs help residents live within their means while enjoying everything the state has to offer.

A Paradigm Shift: Remote Work and Flexibility

2020 brought about a monumental change in the way we work. Remote work became the norm, freeing individuals from the constraints of geographical boundaries. Although this shift impacted industries globally, its influence on relocation decisions among New Yorkers was particularly noteworthy.

With the realization that work could be conducted from anywhere with a stable internet connection, the appeal of bustling city life diminished for some. The once crucial proximity to offices and headquarters became less relevant, opening up opportunities for a change in scenery without sacrificing career growth.

A New York Exodus Fueled by Change and Opportunity

In the grand scheme of things, this moving from New York trend isn't just a mass relocation; it's a reflection of changing priorities, economic considerations, and a redefined concept of work. As New Yorkers seek opportunities beyond the city limits, states like Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut emerge as promising contenders, each with its unique blend of lifestyle, career prospects, and affordability.

In the end, the question isn't just why New Yorkers are leaving; it's about what awaits them in the places they now call home. The answer lies in the promise of change, growth, and the pursuit of a life that aligns with their values and aspirations. And as the world continues to evolve, so too will the reasons behind the decisions to pack up and move.

Colonial Van Lines has helped thousands of families relocate from the New York area to a new state, with the number of moves certainly increasing since 2020. Whenever you choose to move, Colonial Van Lines is here to help and guide you. From planning, preparing, moving and unpacking, our team is ready to make the next move the smoothest yet!

This was pretty much said already in the "Economic Factors: The Price of Living in the Empire State" section.