Report Finds Youth Exodus from the ‘Burbs

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Younger people are leaving the suburbs and upstate New York regions, but they continue to flock to New York City, according to a new report.

The Empire Center for New York State Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank, analyzed U.S. Census data from across the state and found fewer people under the age of 34 are living upstate or in the suburbs of New York. The analysis also showed the median age outside of New York City is rising at a faster rate.

The authors say the reasons for the youth exodus vary.

“Even though the patterns are similar, the causes are different from the upstate problem, which is…purely a problem of economic opportunity,” explained E.J. McMahon, one of the report’s authors. “The problem in the suburbs, I think, is to a great degree a problem of cost of living.”

He said policy makers need to focus on creating more affordable housing across the board, as well as increase job opportunities to keep younger people in those areas.

The study found that the downstate median age rose from 34.7 in 1990, to 39.9 in 2010. Upstate followed a similar trend, rising from 33.4 to 40.

McMahon pointed out that the city’s median age fluctuated less over that same period, from 33.6 to 35.5,  a factor he attributes, at least in part, to the city’s allure.