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Pattern Study Confirms NYC Migration to Hudson Valley
NEWBURGH, NY—A recently released study by regional research group Pattern for Progress found that media reports and sentiments of area Realtors of a significant exodus of New York City residents to the Hudson Valley were indeed accurate.
The Pattern for Progress study released on July 8 found that during 2020—the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic—the Hudson Valley enjoyed a net gain of 33,394 residents from the five boroughs of New York City. Westchester County netted a gain of more than 15,000 New York City residents in 2020.
“Our analysis of migration during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic puts real data behind the fact that more people moved into the Hudson Valley in 2020,” Pattern CEO Adam Bosch said. “The county-by-county data outlined in our report are only part of the story, but they mark an important reversal in a trend that saw our region losing several thousand residents to migration every year for more than a decade.”
He continued, “Government, business, academic and nonprofit leaders across the region should try to understand the factors that will convince our new neighbors to stay in the Hudson Valley, and develop strategies that will help the region attract and retain more families in the years ahead.”
The report, “Moving In, Moving Out,” examined a new set of migration data released late this spring by the Internal Revenue Service. The data utilize information from tax returns to track domestic and international migration into the United States. Pattern officials stated that the IRS migration data are considered among the most accurate information for tracking the movement of people throughout the United States. The latest set of data tracks migration by analyzing address changes between tax returns in 2019 and 2020. It includes some returns that were processed through mid-July 2021 because of delays caused by the pandemic.
Pattern examined data from the nine-county region that includes Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.
The following are key takeaways from the analysis:
• The nine-county region gained 105,716 people and lost 105,087 because of migration in 2019-2020, for a net gain of 629 people. That is not many, but the small increase is a noteworthy reversal of huge population losses across the Hudson Valley in preceding years. From 2016-2019, the region lost about 5,000 residents during each reporting period. It lost a whopping 7,255 people during the 2015-2016 period alone.
• The data confirms that thousands of people moved out of New York City and into the Hudson Valley during the first months of the pandemic. A total of 48,642 people from the five boroughs of New York City moved into the Hudson Valley, and 15,248 moved out of the region and into the city, for a net gain of 33,394 people in the Hudson Valley.
• The data show a north-south divide across the region. Counties in the lower Hudson Valley (Westchester, Rockland, Orange) lost population due to migration, while counties to the north showed net gains in population.
Conclusions are hard to draw because these data include migration before and during the pandemic, but the divide could indicate a movement away from densely populated areas into smaller cities, villages, and rural towns, the report stated. This trend was well documented in real estate data that showed people leaving high-population areas because they feared that density put them at a greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, the report stated.
“The movement of people to and from the Hudson Valley is important to the future of our workforce, schools, housing and community vitality,” said Anthony Campagiorni, Chairperson of the Pattern Board of Directors. “Pattern has long provided analyses of demographic data so that our region can act on the basis of sound information. This report should help leaders across the region learn about those who moved into the region and inform our collective efforts to attract more residents here in the future.”
The report said that the coronavirus may prompt more New York City residents to consider the Hudson Valley. “The Hudson Valley has not seen a net-increase in migration since the few years that followed the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That inflow was driven by people who moved into the region from New York City, but generally continued their commute to jobs in the
city. That trend lasted for two to four years, after which migration shifted back to New York City.”
The Pattern report noted that this time migration trends could be different. “Work-from-home software is better and more common than it was in 2001. And discussions with regional leaders suggest that this new wave of residents are more attracted to the Hudson Valley’s small cities and villages than the wave that came 20 years ago. The region should be engaged in a discussion with our new neighbors to understand what they enjoy about the Hudson Valley, the services that are lacking, and what we might do to keep them here,” the report stated.
The top three counties for net migration population growth from New York City were Westchester County at 15,405, Dutchess County at 4,955, followed by Orange County at 4,064. The remainder of the Hudson Valley all posted positive net migration from New York City: Rockland County at 3,439, Ulster County at 1,953, Sullivan County at 1,204, Putnam at 978, Columbia at 957 and Greene at 439.
A full analysis of the regional, county-by-county, and New York City trends can be found by accessing the report on Pattern’s website at https://www.pattern-for-progress.org. The report was made possible by local governments, businesses, utilities, nonprofits and academic institutions that support Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress.
Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress is a policy, planning, advocacy and research organization founded in 1965. It serves a nine-county region that includes Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.