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POPULATION: Losses benefit our neighbors

The OBSERVER’s View

Almost everyone is aware of New York state’s population problems. While downstate continues to hold its own — or post minor gains, upstate is a disaster. The major metropolitan areas of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse have been struggling for five decades while rural portions of the state also are declining.

In a report released by the Empire Center last week entitled “Where are New Yorkers headed?” the analysis reveals the state has lost 1.4 million in population — mostly from upstate — since 2010. unsurprisingly to some, most of those fleeing head to the warmer and less taxing climates of Florida. But nearby states also are benefiting.

Right here in Chautauqua County, we see the losses all too often. Once having a population of 134,000 in 2010, we have dipped to 128,500. Many who leave here head to Pennsylvania, according to the report.

“The … data show Florida has been the leading destination for New York out-migrants, accounting for 21.3 percent of the net total (calculated as out-migrants minus in-migrants) during the seven-year period,” the report noted. “The average annual income of New Yorkers moving to Florida between 2010-11 and 2017-18 was $90,310.

“Rounding out the top 10 net destinations for New Yorkers were New Jersey (15.5 percent), Pennsylvania (7.1 percent), North Carolina (8.1 percent), California (6.4 percent), Texas (6.1 percent), Connecticut (5.6 percent), Georgia (4.5 percent), South Carolina (3.5 percent) and Virginia (3.1 percent). These 10 states collectively account for 81 percent of New York’s out-migration losses.”

While many blame Albany for poor policies, local governments and school districts are major spenders in this region. No one here, judging from recent merger votes, wants to give up their local schools.

That, of course, is their right. But New York state generously funds education. With the exception of possibly California, the remainder of those states taking in former residents are not as liberal with their spending.

Albany makes plenty of mistakes with our money. Don’t forget, our local elected leaders are very good at squandering our tax money as well.

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