The Empire State Exodus

New Yorkers are fleeing the state and city in droves, fed up with high taxes and the high cost of living, a new report finds.

The migration from 2000 to 2008 represents the biggest migration from any state in the country, The Empire Center for New York State Policy said.

Some 1.5 million New Yorkers, or about 8 percent of the population, have moved out since 2000. Florida was the top destination, followed by New Jersey.

The vast majority of those who left the state, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City. This means one out of seven city taxpayers moved from the area, the report said.

The new New Yorkers, led by immigrants, are making about 13 percent less money per year than those who left, the data indicates.

"The Empire State is being drained of an invaluable resource -- people," the report said.

The center, part of the conservative Manhattan Institute, blames the trend on the state's high cost of living and high taxes.

The average Manhattan taxpayer who left the state earned $93,264 a year. The average newcomer to Manhattan earned only $72,726.

That's a difference of $20,538 -- the highest for any county in the state. Staten Island was second, with a $20,066 difference in incomes.

Census and IRS records show the migration peaked in 2005 when 250,000 people left.  Last year, in the midst of the recession, far fewer left.  About 126,000 moved out of New York -- the lowest figure over the eight-year period.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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