Residents fled New York City and San Francisco following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but cell phone data shows they didn’t go too far.
A new study shows that many of the residents who have moved from Manhattan and the City by the Bay have changed their address to the outskirts or neighboring suburbs, which are within a 100-mile radius.
Almost two in five – or 37 percent – of those who moved out of Manhattan settled in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Long Island and Westchester.
According to a study by analyst Placer.ai, only 2 percent of Manhattan residents migrated to Miami-Dade County, Florida, while roughly the same percentage moved to Palm Beach County.
The study analyzed cell phone data from the 12 months leading up to January 2021.
The largest percentage – 14 percent – of former Manhattans withdrew to Suffolk County, where many are believed to have second homes in the Hamptons and nearby hamlets along the south coast of eastern Long Island.
A new study shows that many of Manhattan residents who have moved have changed their address to the outskirts or neighboring suburbs
Similar trends have been observed in San Francisco. According to the study, many who left the city stayed in the Bay Area. One in ten Franciscans moved across the bay to San Mateo County, while slightly fewer – 9.2 percent – moved to Alameda County
A U-Haul moving truck can be seen in this 2016 file photo up in San Francisco. New York and San Francisco were two of several major cities that experienced negative net migration between January 2020 and January 2021
Another 15 percent moved together to Nassau County, Queens, Brooklyn, and The Bronx.
Fairfield, Connecticut; Westchester County, New York; and Monmouth County, New Jersey, made up 7.4 percent of Manhattanites transplanted.
Similar trends have been observed in San Francisco.
According to the study, many who left the city stayed in the Bay Area. One in ten Franciscans moved across the bay to San Mateo County, while slightly fewer – 9.2 percent – moved to Alameda County.
The third most popular destination for those leaving San Francisco was Contra Costa County, home of Berkeley.
The study also found that New York, California, and Massachusetts were among the states that experienced the highest negative migration between January 2020 and January 2021. Meanwhile, low-population states like Montana, Idaho, Delaware, and Hawaii saw population growth over the same period
Around 6.3 percent of San Francisco residents moved south to Los Angeles, while 5.2 percent stayed a little closer to home and settled in Santa Clara County.
Overall, around 15 percent moved to various locations including Sacramento, Orange County, San Diego, Sonoma County, and Marin Counties.
“The clear finding is that even large communities with high rates of migration outside of the state have lost a large percentage of their residents to nearby inland and neighboring out-of-state counties,” concluded the authors of the Placer.ai study.
“While cities lose population in the short term, they don’t necessarily lose their center of gravity.
“This information can have a significant impact on local office and retail sales decisions.”
The study also found that New York, California, and Massachusetts were among the states that saw the highest negative migration between January 2020 and January 2021.
New York State had negative net migration of 1.8 percent, while California’s net negative migration was 1.1 percent.
Massachusetts net negative migration was 1.4 percent.
In cities, San Francisco had the largest negative net migration (2.4 percent), followed by Los Angeles (1.9 percent), Boston (1.7 percent), New York (1.2 percent) and Chicago (0.7 percent) Percent).
In sparsely populated states such as Montana, Idaho, Delaware, and Hawaii, there was population growth over the same period.
Idaho’s population grew nearly 4 percent, while Montana saw positive net migration of 3.7 percent.
In cities, San Francisco had the largest negative net migration (2.4 percent), followed by Los Angeles (1.9 percent), Boston (1.7 percent), New York (1.2 percent) and Chicago (0.7 Percent).
The cities with the highest positive net migration in 2020 include Tampa (1.5 percent), Charleston (1.5 percent), Austin (1.3 percent), Phoenix (1.3 percent) and Las Vegas (0.8 Percent).
Despite the grim news, recent developments such as the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine and falling infection rates offer hope.
In the past few days, New York City has shown signs that the coronavirus pandemic has been brought back to life a year later. Tourism slowly increased and more pedestrians frequented Times Square.
Although activity in the city is still well below pre-pandemic levels, tourism officials say visitor traffic is increasing in yet another sign of New York bouncing back.
The Times Square Alliance, a nonprofit group that oversees the area, told the Wall Street Journal last week that 115,000 people a day recently passed through the iconic area.
On March 12th, people gather in Times Square for a performance. Recently, around 115,000 people a day have been walking through the cult area, a 15% increase over the winter numbers
People wear face masks as they walk the Mall in Central Park amid the coronavirus pandemic in New York City on March 11, 2021
Mobility data from Apple shows that pedestrian activity in New York City is 35 percent below the pre-pandemic baseline
That’s a 15 percent increase over daily traffic in Times Square since September – but less than a third of the 365,000 daily visitors the tourist Mecca saw before the pandemic.
Hotel occupancy in the city hit 47 percent for the week ended March 13, according to STR, a data firm that tracks the hospitality industry. This is the highest weekly value since June last year.
That’s a 38 percent increase in January, but well below the city’s hotel occupancy rate of 87 percent for the same week in 2019.
Tourism is a major engine of the New York economy, and in 2019 the city had a record 66.6 million visitors, according to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism bureau.
Last year the number fell to 22.3 million, but the agency estimates it will climb to 36.4 million this year.
Mobility data from Apple shows that pedestrian activity in New York City is 35 percent below baseline before the pandemic, up from 80 percent below baseline a year ago.
The data shows that driving activity is roughly in line with baseline, while transit activity remains 48 percent below baseline.
Transit data from the MTA shows that NYC’s daily subway count is still more than 60 percent lower than last year as New Yorkers eschew public transportation in favor of other modes of transportation or working from home.
This is a caveat on Big Apple’s relief as New York State plans to end a two-week quarantine mandate for overseas visitors on April 1st.