New Yorkers flee city in droves amid coronavirus, crime concerns: report

The exodus is much greater than in prior years.

More than 300,000 New Yorkers have bailed from the Big Apple in the last eight months, new stats show.

City residents filed 295,103 change of address requests from March 1 through Oct. 31, according to data The Post obtained from the US Postal Service under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Since the data details only when 11 or more forwarding requests were made to a particular county outside NYC, the number of moves is actually higher. And a single address change could represent an entire household, which means far more than 300,000 New Yorkers fled the five boroughs.


Whatever the exact number, the exodus — which began when COVID-19 hit the city in early spring — is much greater than in prior years. From just March through July, there were 244,895 change of address requests to destinations outside of the city, more than double the 101,342 during the same period in 2019.

The escape from New York is fueled not only by coronavirus concerns but economic worries, school chaos, and rising crime, experts say.

Michael Hendrix, director of state and local policy at the Manhattan Institute, which has commissioned surveys about the state of the city, was not surprised by the data.

“I think people are afraid,” Hendrix said. “They’re afraid of catching a deadly virus and they’re afraid of crime and other quality of life concerns. One thing we also hear is about trash and cleanliness of the city.”


The institute’s survey of six-figure earners in July and August found that 44% of respondents had considered moving outside the city in the prior four months. They cited the cost of living as the biggest reason. More than a third, 38%, said they thought the city was heading in the wrong direction and only 38% rated the quality of life as good or excellent.

More than half, 53%, said they were very concerned about sending their kids back to school.

Major crimes have been on the rise this year with the number of murders in the Big Apple hitting 344 by October, surpassing the count for all of 2019. The number of shootings through Nov. 8 is up 94% over 2019.

“The biggest reason for people leaving the city is uncertainty about when the pandemic will be over and how quickly the New York economy will recover,” said Kathryn Wylde, head of the Partnership for New York City. “More than half a million city residents who were employed in the retail, restaurant, services sectors have lost their jobs and cannot afford city rents. The late decision on re-opening public and private schools forced many families to relocate so they could make enrollment deadlines in districts where they were living during the pandemic.”

The partnership was behind a September plea from top business leaders to Mayor de Blasio urging him to crack down on crime and quality-of-life concerns.

The postal data shows that many fleeing New Yorkers simply crossed the border to Long Island, Westchester or New Jersey. The Post Office received 21,362 change requests to Suffolk County, 18,731 to Nassau County and 15,850 to Westchester County. A total of 9,356 wanted their mail sent to Hudson County, NJ.


The Hamptons — where many families have stayed in second homes and enrolled their kids in local schools — was a desired destination, with 6,500 requests to six East End ZIP codes. Easthampton topped the list of requests with 2,769 and Southampton had 1,398.

Popular locales closer to the city included Jersey City and Hoboken as well as the posh suburbs of Scarsdale and Greenwich, CT.

But some New Yorkers went far afield — 8,587 asked for their mail to go to Los Angeles and 421 to Honolulu. There were 13,009 requests for the Sunshine State counties of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade.

The data does not show whether the requests were permanent or temporary. The Post Office will forward mail for six months when it receives a temporary request.

The stats back up what New Yorkers are seeing in the streets. Moving trucks have dotted city neighborhoods, with movers saying residents were packing out to the suburbs and beyond.

Three ZIP codes on the Upper West Side — where residents have protested two new homeless shelters and complained about rising crime — had a total 9,076 mail forwarding requests, the biggest chunk in the city.

Murray Hill, a popular neighborhood for young people, saw 2,889 requests — suggesting many residents may have gone to back to childhood homes.


In another sign that the exodus has not abated, apartment vacancies stood at 16,145 last month up from 15,923 in September and the highest number in 14 years, according to a new report.

The trend appears to be statewide, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Almost 47,000 more users looked to leave the state than move into it during the third quarter, roughly 35% more than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the Journal reported, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx accounted for the three US housing markets that are cooling down the most, in that order.


Top ZIP codes New Yorkers exited between March 1 and Oct. 31, 2020, with the number of change of address requests for each area:

1. Upper West Side, 10023: 3,368

2. Upper West Side, 10025: 3,000

3. Murray Hill, 10016: 2,889

4. Upper West Side, 10024: 2,708

5. Chelsea/Greenwich Village, 10011: 2,520

6. Upper East Side, 10128: 2,165

7. Downtown Brooklyn, 11201: 1,836

8. Gramercy/East Village, 10003: 1,677

9. Upper East Side, 10028: 1,631

10. Midtown East, 10022: 1,410

11. Midtown West, 10019: 1,484

12. Upper East Side, 10021: 1,506

13. Chelsea, 10001: 1,222

14. West Village, 10014: 1,192

15. Park Slope, Brooklyn, 11215: 1,006

16. Rose Hill/Peter Cooper Village, 10010: 1,002

17. Midtown, 10018: 987

18. Tribeca/Chinatown, 10013: 899

19. Midtown, 10036: 837

20. East Village, 10009: 728


Top destinations for New Yorkers who left the city between March and October, with the number of change of address requests for each ZIP code:

1. East Hampton, NY, 11937: 2,769

2. Jersey City, NJ, 07302: 1,821

3. Southampton, NY, 11968: 1,398

4. Hoboken, NJ, 07030: 1,204

5. Sag Harbor, NY, 11963: 961

6. Scarsdale, NY, 10583: 812

7. Water Mill, NY, 11976: 577

8. Greenwich, CT, 06830: 558

9. Yonkers, NY: 10701, 567

10. Jersey City, NJ, 07310: 434

11. Port Washington, NY, 11050: 414

12. Westhampton Beach, NY, 11978: 409

13. Princeton, NJ, 08540: 395

14. Woodstock, NY, 12498: 392

15. New Canaan, CT, 06840: 389

16. Great Neck/Manhasset, NY, 11021: 380

17. Hampton Bays, NY, 11946: 344

18. Darien, CT, 06820: 326

19. Mount Vernon, NY, 10550: 325

20. Long Beach, NY, 11561: 323

Source: United States Postal Service


This article first appeared in the New York Post.