The New York City Exodus

By | December 26, 2018

[December 26, 2018]  Like me, many of my close friends over the recent past moved out of New York City.  The exodus of middle-class citizens was once taken as a myth perpetrated by those who were viewed as the “less sophisticated and the dull” that couldn’t or wouldn’t appreciate what the city was all about.

With a city government that was more interested in pushing out anyone not in synch with the new hip crowd, the middle-class was also getting squeezed by high taxes, poor municipal services, loss of ordinary jobs, etc.  The New York Post calls us the “endangered middle class” and laments our departure.1

“The rich in New York City are getting richer; the poor are actually getting richer, but not rich enough to be middle class,” – Peter C. Earle, economist at the American Institute for Economic Research

While many have seen this coming, the exodus increased since Mayor Bill de Blasio’s poor leadership has driven an ideological wedge between a diverse citizenry.  If you are politically conservative, he has said that he doesn’t want you here.  If you fear for your life on the streets and maybe want a gun to protect yourself, then he wants you out.

Furthermore, it is no longer an open secret that he uses political party politics to exempt himself and his friends from the basic rules the he establishes for others to follow.  From his first day in office, his friends and cronies get what they want.  His buddies and the upper rich in Manhattan get their streets cleaned of snow first.  The further from Manhattan you get, the poorer the services get.

But this is not really all about poor political leadership.  The trend of an out-migration of the middle class is a decades-long problem that the senior city leaders have been unable, and often unwilling, to address.  They would rather create more city-government make-work jobs that pay minimum wage than recruit better employers that could pay a middle-class wage.

One sector doing a booming “business” is food pantries.  Despite a city official unemployment rate of 4 percent, NYC food pantries report elevated levels of demand, especially now during the holiday season.


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

24 thoughts on “The New York City Exodus

  1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    I like to think good of NYC. I visited on many occasions and found many good things. But like many cities, it has its dirty parts (slums, politicians, filth). It takes courage to do something about it but the problem is often seen as overwhelming.

  2. Gil Johnson

    I’m not going to put down New York City, per se. But the whole history of cities has been toward what’s new, entertaining, “hip,” and advant-guarde. From the underground bars and swingers clubs to the halls of big government, keeping their eye on the future is what they’re about. When this begins to be a problem is when they take their eye of the middle class that keeps the economic engine running. That is what’s happening.

    1. Mr. T.J. Asper

      Don’t stand in the middle of the sidewalk … and look up at the tall buildings. You’ll be mistaken for the tourist you certainly are. NYC is not that welcoming to visitors if you look like a normal person from anywhere else. That is the progressive mindset they want to exorcise you from the city.

    1. Eric Coda

      Just one more example of the city taking care of the mentally ill but ignoring the rest of us.

  3. Billy Kenningston

    Like so many cities today in the US, there is a trend for the local govt to be “concerned” about the poor and “compassionate.” They will spend any amount of tax payer money to fix this thing they believe to be a problem. The issue with me is that they are runnng out of other people’s money and want to jack up the tax rates to fix something that their very policies are creating. Just look at Seattle, Wash.

  4. Willie Shrumburger

    Thanks for the thoughtful article on a phenomenon that’s been going on for decades in the “big apple.”

  5. Max Foster

    Gen. Satterfield, I think what we’re seeing here is a common trend in most North American cities. If we look back over the history of mankind since the beginning of the 18th century, the migration to the city to get away from the farm has been a beacon of light for the weary. Cities have something that nowhere else has and they always will. But the graft, corruption, moral decay is also to be found there in spades.

    1. Dale Paul Fox

      Yes, good comment Max as usual. Your analysis is spot on.

    2. Andrew Dooley

      Interesting look at ‘big cities’ and like places. I too found that Los Angeles CA is a place that you no longer want to be. The city is full of a bunch of progressives that take from the middle class and give to the rich and poor. They seem to want to drive the average working guy out. Either you live in a mansion in Beverly Hills or in your car.

  6. Len Jakosky

    … but you can always go see a play on Broadway (or off), eat at a nice restaurant (expensive), eat a hotdog from a street vendor (good and inexpensive), or just enjoy the so-called culture. But the city government is nickel and diming us to death.

  7. Georgie M.

    Quote from an article on “What’s Wrong with New York City?”
    What’s wrong with New York? Easy. We don’t do anything anymore. We don’t makes things. We’re non-productive. No industry. Our activity is all make-work and busy-work. We open restaurant after restaurant, bar after bar. We market and advertise things, but don’t create them. We put on plays and make television shows. We open hot clubs and neo-speakeasies. We’re like Rome in its final days. Eating and entertainment. Eating and entertainment. Nothing solid. Nothing you can lay your hand to and say, “This makes life work.” Just distractions. Enhancements. Everything transitory and ephemeral.

  8. Greg Heyman

    We must be thinking alike. NYC is a great place to visit occasionally but not a place to live if you want to be free of crazies and poor govt.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      I wouldn’t want to even visit. That includes Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, and more and more I don’t even like Houston or Dallas.

    2. Martin Shiell

      Wow, tell us what you think. I too, however, must agree wholeheartedly with you. To go into Manhattan or the city center of any of the 5 boroughs and you will be ‘entertained’ by the fruits and nuts. Like cockroaches, the underlife of NYC is crawling with the little buggers.

    3. Drew Dill

      I think this is the whole point. There is an idea that if you’re not part of the progressive, special in-crowd then the city doesn’t want you there. The mayor of NYC is a joke. But since he hands out plenty of cash and portrays himself as a paragon of the poor, they will keep voting for him.

    4. Wilson Cox

      Like so many large cities. Don’t be there after dark either or you might be taking your life into your own hands.

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