Upstate New York Is Rotting and Good Apples Are Leaving

naturalgasnowTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Despite immigration and even some natural growth, the Empire State is losing population because Upstate New York is rotting and good apples are leaving it.

The New York Post ran an editorial Saturday that speaks directly to the sad condition of Upstate New York, which is starting to affect the once Empire State as a whole (emphasis added):

Between July 2017 and June 2018, the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon reports, 180,306 more New Yorkers fled than moved in from elsewhere in the nation — making the state one of just seven to see a population drop…

The flight from New York is no sudden fluke: The state’s share of the US population has slipped for decades…

People go where jobs are. And where they can afford to live. New York’s problem is that places where employment opportunities exist, such as in the city, are too expensive. And places that aren’t pricey, such as upstate, lack jobs.

Meanwhile, onerous taxes and heavy business mandates — the $15 minimum wage, paid-leave laws, etc. — drive away employers and their jobs. All by itself, Cuomo’s ban on fracking snuffed out a lucrative industry that could’ve helped stem the race for the exits in places like the Southern Tier.

Upstate New York, in other words, is rotting and those among the good apples who can, are leaving before the entire basket that is New York is ruined. The rest are trapped. And, it’s even worse than the Post supposes.

The Empire Center’s report is dead-on. Consider this:

New York’s total “net domestic migration” loss since the 2010 census is now estimated at 1,197,600 residents—by far the largest such decrease of any state in absolute terms, and second only to Alaska as a percentage of estimated population at the start of the decade. New York also attracted 70,375 immigrants from other countries 2017-18, ranking fourth behind Florida, California and Texas, bringing the Empire State’s combined net migration loss in the latest year to 109,391 people. Since the last decennial census, only Alaska and Illinois have had bigger net migration losses as a share of their 2010 populations.

New York was credited last year with a births-over-deaths “natural increase” in population of 61,371 people, trailing only California and Texas. However, due mainly to its large net domestic migration loss, the adjusted estimate of New York’s total population was down by 48,510, or 0.2 percent, to 19,378,012.  The total estimated U.S. population of 327,167,434 was up about 0.6 percent.

The Center also provides a table showing New York now ranks 49th out of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia in terms of growth rate and has now tipped into net negative territory. This is how far down the Empire State has already collapsed. It once had 45 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and is projected to be down to 25 after the 2020 Census. The growth of the metro area no longer offsets the decline of Upstate New York, despite relatively heavy foreign immigration to the former.

What’s left as the good apples leave is a declining economy as far as Upstate New York is concerned; accelerating the rot. A quick check of Census median household income estimates between 2009 (when the shale revolution really started impacting Pennsylvania and 2017 (the latest data available} illustrates the problem in stark terms. It depicts the changes for Broome County, New York with adjoining Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania:

upstate new york

The 2009 data is adjusted for inflation totaling 18.22% of the period:

upstate new york

Over the course of the shale revolution, the economic position of the two counties has reversed. Rural Susquehanna County now has a higher median household income than urban Broome County, having gained 5.7% in real dollars while Broome households lost 4.5%. That’s as real as it gets and why Upstate New York is emptying out.

But, it’s not just rural New Yorkers who are now leaving. Middle-class class New York City residents are also leaving, according to this New York Post article:

After decades of sharp income erosion in the face of relentless taxes, escalating living costs and wage reductions through technological changes, the full extent of this shocking exodus is laid bare in the latest US Census data.

That shows the city is losing 100 residents each day — with departures exceeding new arrivals.

“The rich in New York City are getting richer; the poor are actually getting richer, but not rich enough to be middle class,” said Peter C. Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research, who has studied other data, noting the expansion in welfare and entitlement programs.

The rot is clearly spreading. The middle class, which defines Upstate New York, is being sacrificed on an altar of gentry class virtue signaling with a corrupt Andrew Cuomo serving as the demagogic high priest. And, as Upstate goes, so goes the middle class of the entire Empire State. No one in power is listening to it and the result is not going to be pretty in the end. A recent tweet by Glenn Greenwald, liberal journalist, lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law offers a poignant observation that is as applicable to New York as it is to anywhere:

upstate new york

New York City may not be a capital in the legal sense, but it’s loaded up with elites such as those who compose the NRDC gang. They have nothing but scorn for Upstate New Yorkers and the middle class fleeing New York. They demand there be no fracking or pipelines. They are unbothered by higher taxes and regulations they can easily avoid by throwing money at any problem. They suppose the working class ought to just leave if they can’t make it in New York or don’t subscribe to their agenda, inartfully labeled as their “values.” Andrew Cuomo does their bidding and there will be a day of reckoning. New York is rotting.

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9 thoughts on “Upstate New York Is Rotting and Good Apples Are Leaving

  1. Population decreasing also in Susquehanna County..
    Even with all the wonders happening here, according to Tom..
    Loads of homes for sale here and lower taxes.
    Broome County just has to move here…only a few miles away.
    And join our 55% poverty-rate kids..

    • Vera
      Is your ignorance natural or just learned?
      Your Governor Tom Wolf has made the once cheaper gas then NY more expensive. His sintax has doubled the cost of alcohol and tobacco, and property taxes are on the rise. It’s like he is following Cuomo on driving people out of the State. But your in good shape, taxes on mobile dwellings didn’t see an increase this year

      • try this Tom for information that you may be excluding to promote your Agenda:

        The increase in tax on gasoline was passed on November 25, 2013 by the Republican House and Senate and signed into law by Republican Governor Corbett. It was House Bill 1060 / Act 89 and the increase was implemented in three stages, bringing the final Commonwealth tax to about 58 cents per gallon. Governor Wolf did not enter office until January of 2015. The price of alcohol has hardly gone up at all, let alone “doubled” as Tom says, again, blaming Wolf is inappropriate. The Senate and House are still controlled, overwhelmingly, by Republicans.

        Happy New Year to all. See how much of your Agenda is implemented in 2019 and how many of the people support it.

        • Vera states: ” The price of alcohol has hardly gone up at all, let alone “doubled” as Tom says, again, blaming Wolf is inappropriate.” This totally explains Vera’s incessant incoherent ramblings on this blog and……..why she still lives in, as she fantasizes, a polluted and devastated county that is the most heavily drilled county in PA – Susquehanna. The drilling has been going on since Dec. 2007 where it started on the Teel farm in Dimock, and Vera remains there after 11 long years.

  2. Businesses are booming in Washington County, Pa. where the first Marcellus Shale well was drilled. Manufacturing jobs, houses being built, trucking booming, resturaunts packed every day, shopping centers booming and so on. Thousands of workers at a local industrial park working for the natural gas industry in their headquarters’.

    • Obviously you have ignored the rantings of past presidents, governors and members of Congress. Remember Cuomo’s and Obama’s insults at anyone just to the right of Stalin. Donald J. Trump is the most honest president we have had in a century or so because he is not trough gobbling career politician. Whether you agree with him or not, he has exposed the corruption that many wish not to see.
      Politics in this country has never been what you describe beneath crooked veneer so-called “civility”.
      Truman was right about getting rich in politics.

  3. PA is finding itself now more in the position of Texas, with plentiful energy underfoot, and energy-infrastructure and energy-industry being put in place now. Thronging of energy-consuming manufacturing industries to PA cannot be far behind, and the cheap energy will resurrect the USA as the massive world manufacturing power it has previously been. Glad I am alive to see this, after observing the long slide since the 70s-80s…….


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