U.S. Census

Manhattan Lost 6.9% of Its Population in 2021, the Most of Any Major U.S. County

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New York City experienced a significant population shift last year, with four of its five counties losing a greater percentage of people than almost any other major county in the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau detailed Thursday.

Data analysts from the Census Bureau point to migration as the primary factor behind such significant shifts in population from 2020 to 2021. But not every county is down. The bureau found that at least 65% of metropolitan areas felt a population increase from 2020 to 2021.

The New York metro area lead all others in population loses, according to the census data. The combination of New York, Newark and Jersey City reflected a population loss of more than 385,000 people, almost double that of the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim region.

“The patterns we’ve observed in domestic migration shifted in 2021,” said Dr. Christine Hartley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections in the Census Bureau’s Population Division.

“Even though over time we’ve seen a higher number of counties with natural decrease and net international migration continuing to decline, in the past year, the contribution of domestic migration counteracted these trends so there were actually more counties growing than losing population," Hartley continued.

Breaking this trend was New York City. In a closer look at the city's changing population numbers by county, Manhattan (New York County) had the greatest percentage drop. According to the census data, the island saw a 6.9% decline between April 2020 and July 2021.

Manhattan wasn't alone in the top 10 counties for percentage decline, however. Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens and the Bronx were on that list as well as Hudson County in New Jersey. Hudson and Queens both recorded a 3.1% dip in population, whereas the Bronx saw 3.2% and Brooklyn a 3.5% decline.

Between that same 15 month period, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx also made up four of the 10 counties with the largest drop in population by straight numbers, the census data shows.

Manhattan took the No. 2 spot with a drop of 117,375 residents. Brooklyn and Queens took fourth and fifth, respectively, losing 95,022 and 74,321 residents. A few spots down in eighth was the Bronx, with a decline of 47,706 residents.

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