Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of occasional fact checks we will be publishing about statements made by local candidates running for a state or national office.
On July 14, The Post-Star ran an article on state Senate and Assembly races, including the race in the 113th Assembly District, where incumbent Democrat Carrie Woerner of Round Lake is being challenged by Republican Morgan Zegers of Ballston Spa.
In a phone interview, Zegers said she is concerned that people are moving out of New York.
“We’ve lost over a million people since Governor Cuomo took office,” she said.
This is both true and false, depending upon how you interpret what Zegers said.
In 2018, New York’s population was 19.86 million, up from 19.38 million in 2010. In that time, the state’s population experienced a net increase of about half a million people.
So if the state’s population went up, how could it have “lost” a million people?
Over the same time period, the outmigration of people from New York to other states came to about a million. The population grew because of immigration to New York from foreign countries and births in the state outnumbering deaths. Those increases added up to about a million and a half.
Although the state has lost a million people, it has gained a million and a half since 2010.
That half a million increase translates to a growth rate that is slower than other large states. For many decades, New York was the most populous state, but it has been passed over the last 50 years by California, Texas and Florida. Pennsylvania is in fifth place, almost 7 million people behind New York.
New York had the 11th slowest population growth in 2018. It is hard to draw conclusions about slow-growth states, which are scattered. Wyoming, West Virginia, Illinois and Alaska, all of which lost population, had the four lowest growth rates in 2018.
In contrast, the highest-growth states show a clear preference for the west: The top four are Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Washington.