New York, the most deserted city in the United States

Every day, 277 people leave Big Apple, driven by rising rents and gentrification.

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In a street of Manhattan in New York, June 20th.
In a street of Manhattan in New York, June 20th. JOHANNES EISELE / AFP


The New York Times do not want to believe it. "Are New Yorkers fleeing the city? " The numbers are there, revealed by the US Census. 277 people leave New York every day, twice as many as a year ago. Except for a change in statistical methodology, the New York population has shrunk by 100 000 people between July 2018 and July 2019 and now only has 8.4 million inhabitants. Big Apple is the most deserted city in the United States. Behind it, the two major American cities, Los Angeles and Chicago, also see part of their population moving (120,000 and 84,000 respectively).

Tax pressure

What happened when it was believed that urban centers, with their booze cafes, expensive restaurants that were not refined, and factories turned into apartments attracted millennials? They have attracted them too much: prices have become prohibitive, rents have risen (75% in ten years in Los Angeles), while public transport remains terribly dilapidated. As a result, families and middle classes, chased away by gentrification, flee to greener, more sunny skies: Las Vegas (Nevada), Phoenix (Arizona) and Dallas (Texas) welcome 100,000 newcomers every year. They also settle in more remote areas where, thanks to the Internet and trendy cafes, you can live the same life, or almost, as in the trendy neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

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The phenomenon has probably been accelerated by the increase in the tax pressure, which is explained both by the political choices of the Democrats who manage New York and some of the major states of the Pacific coast and the tax reform of Republican Donald Trump: local and state taxes are no longer deductible from federal taxes, which has greatly increased the addition since 2017. It can be seen in New York, where the middle classes are caught between the very rich and the poorest .

40% born abroad

This relative disaffection for the city was masked until last year by the arrival of immigrants. According to a survey of The Atlanticsince 2010, the population growth of the New York, Philadelphia and Chicago metropolises was more than 100% driven by the influx of foreigners while this rate reached 80% in the Boston regions, to the east of the United States. United States and Los Angeles, to the west. Their arrival shaped the big cities.


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