The 2020 Census shows the city grew by some 629,000 residents in the past decade, while housing spending failed miserably to keep up with demand.
Not long ago, New York was thought to be a city in decline, and there was much hand-wringing about it.
The Census Bureau’s annual population estimates had New York City’s population peaking in 2016 at 8.47 million. By 2020, the bureau said, the city’s population had declined steadily, by about 220,000 people.
To informed observers, the Census Bureau’s population estimates seemed inconsistent with other data that came from government sources. New York City continued to gain jobs steadily — over 900,000 payroll jobs from 2010 to 2019 — before dropping in the pandemic-induced recession of 2020. Most city workers live in the city, and the city continued to add housing — albeit not enough. Rents and sales prices remained high, implying lots of housing demand. Surely the Census Bureau had the direction of population change wrong.
Eric Kober is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He retired in 2017 as director of housing, economic and infrastructure planning at the New York City Department of City Planning. Follow him on Twitter here. Based on a recent MI report.
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