Fact Check: Is New York’s population loss really biggest in the nation?

Fact Check: Does NY really lead U.S. in population loss?

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It’s no secret that New York’s population is shrinking. But is it really the biggest decline in the nation as some Republican lawmakers suggest?

Here is what Republican State Senator Jake Ashby of Castleton, N.Y., said last week:

“More people are moving from New York State than any other state in the country. New York’s population loss since 2020 is greater than Vermont’s total population.”

Is that truly the case? Let’s take a look at the first part of that statement — more people are leaving New York than any other state in the country.         

Ashby appears to be referencing the latest U.S. Census estimates. According to the most recent numbers, New York saw its population fall by 101,984 between July 2022 and July 2023. That was, indeed, the biggest drop of any state. California was second at 75,423, followed by Illinois at 32,826.

New York also had the largest loss of population by percentage at .52%.

Governor Kathy Hochul even acknowledged the exodus in her State of the State address this month, blaming it partly on a lack of affordable housing.

“It’s one of the forces driving people out of every corner of our state. Out-migration is a problem we need to talk about,” she said.

Now, looking at the second part of Ashby’s statement — that since 2020 New York has lost more people than Vermont’s total population.

We went back to the Census for a breakdown of annual changes in population. As of 2023, Vermont had a total of 647,464 people. Since 2020, New York has lost 631,104 people. Not quite the population of Vermont — but pretty close.

For this fact check, we rate Ashby’s statements — MOSTLY TRUE.

Republicans in the State Senate have sponsored legislation that would create a commission to take a more in-depth look at the reasons people are leaving New York State and ways to reverse the population trends.