NYC has recovered three-quarters of residents who fled under COVID, data suggests

New York City has recovered about three-quarters of the population that fled during the first year of the pandemic, the latest signal that the return of personal activity has set in motion the region’s recovery.

Since July, the city has recorded a net gain in occupancy compared to 2019 levels, a first since the start of the pandemic, according to a new analysis from City Comptroller Scott Stringer. The rise has been driven by an influx of people into richer neighborhoods whose residents fled during the health crisis.

The results are based on address change data submitted to the U.S. Postal Service, a target for those requesting mail forwarding that leaves large parts of the city, including people moving from abroad. But experts say the data, though limited, offers a useful status update on the dramatic population fluctuations that have affected the city over the past two years.

Andy Beveridge, a professor at Queens College and a longtime demographic expert, ran his own calculations based on address change data. He found that in 2020, an estimated 33,000 more evictions registered within the five districts than the base average. This trend reversed in 2021 with around 23,000 more occupants than expected.

“It suggests they’ve earned as much as three-quarters of the population left,” Beveridge said. “It’s a straw in the wind that things are starting to get normal again.”

Although emigration increased in each borough during the first year of the pandemic, it was the richest parts of New York – including Battery Park City / Greenwich Village, Murray Hill / Gramercy and the Upper East Side – that experienced the highest per capita emigration rates. .

Meanwhile, the three zip codes with the largest proportional gains in population during that time were all located in the Hamptons. Outside New York, the largest net gains per per capita found in less populous states like Vermont and Maine.

As the city’s public schools reopen and some employees are called back to work, some of those who fled appear to be returning.

Between June and September, a total of 14 city districts performed better than pre-pandemic relocations, with the highest net gains seen in Chelsea / Midtown, Murray Hill / Gramercy, Battery Park City / Greenwich Village, Chinatown / Lower East Side and Upper East Side.

The influx of residents has triggered tenancy wars and rising prices in certain sought-after neighborhoods. But New York is still down for residents as a result of the pandemic – with no guarantee that current trend lines will not change.

Many workers are still remote, the number of metro riders in the metro is still close to half of what they were pre-pandemic, and coronavirus infections are starting to rise.

“We know New York is no longer bleeding people,” added Beveridge, the demographer. “It really is a question of what is temporary and what is permanent.”

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