The decline in immigrant population growth fuels larger, looming demographic trends for the State of New York. From 2010 to 2019, the state’s total population has also plateaued.2 Most of the population growth in the state since 1980 can be attributed to immigrants born outside of the U.S. With the state’s immigrant population now plateauing, or possibly decreasing, future population growth in the state is in jeopardy, and it could hurt New York’s economy, too.
New York’s population is also growing older; the median age of state residents increased from 41 in 2010 to 43 in 2019. This trend in New York reflects a greater demographic transition underway in the U.S., with a decline in the number of new immigrants coming to the U.S. coinciding with the aging of the current population. As with the U.S. overall, New York State must increase its immigrant population to grow its economy and remain economically competitive.
Counter to the statewide trends, some of New York’s cities and regions have already seen the population and economic benefits of growing immigrant communities. For example, the Capital Region has benefited from a growing Asian-American community, of which immigrants are a large part. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s population grew last decade for the first time in 70 years, likely due to inflows of new immigrants. These areas of the state have found ways to attract new immigrants and refugees in helping revive their local economies, something the rest of the state could follow to its benefit.
Three demographic events in New York State are simultaneously driving immigration trends.
First, fewer foreign-born individuals are entering the state each year from outside of the U.S. During 2019, an estimated 100,000 new residents not born in the U.S.moved to New York State from outside of the U.S., far less than a recent peak of 130,000 in 2016.