News & Politics

Poll: 44 Percent of Wealthy New Yorkers Have Considered Moving

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

A surprising survey from the Manhattan Institute found that 44 percent of New Yorkers earning more than $100,000 have considered moving out of the city in the last 4 months. Sixty-nine percent of those considering a move cited the cost of living while another 47 percent said it was the high crime rate.

The pandemic has resulted in a change in work habits for the wealthy. Only 11 percent are working entirely outside the home while 53 percent are only working from their houses.

The Daily Caller reports that “Only 30% believed that the way they work would return to how it was before the coronavirus pandemic – 65% said that they thought working from home would be the “new normal.” Worse, a vast majority — 80 percent — of wealthy New Yorkers don’t think the economy will recover in a year.

Quality of life is also an issue.

Only 38% of New Yorkers surveyed said that the quality of life now was excellent or good, a drop by half, from 79% before the pandemic. Most believe that the city has a long road to recovery: 69% say that it “will take longer than a year” for quality of life to return to normal.

Turning to challenges for New York City, 75% of respondents cited income taxes as a problem, while 72% pointed to traffic and 68% to the reliability of public transportation. The greatest concern of all was the likelihood of coronavirus spread, with 90% saying that it posed a problem for them.

Among respondents with children who attend public school in New York City, more than half (53%) said that they are very concerned about sending them back to school, including 76% of black respondents. Those in the Bronx (72%) are warier of sending their children to reopened physical schools than those in Manhattan (40%).

There is a direct correlation between poor political leadership and a possible exodus of the wealthy from New York. With no confidence in Mayor Bill de Blasio and a recognition that the state and city governments are likely to hit them with higher taxes, it appears the wealthy are reaching a breaking point.

And any exodus by the wealthy would be devastating for the city and state. Residents making more than $100,000 make up 80 percent of income tax revenue for the city — a common problem that politicians ignore while continuing to pile on taxes. Eventually, the rich will seek greener, cheaper pastures elsewhere.

For the future, there is pessimism.

Of New Yorkers earning at least $100,000, 38% believe that the city is headed in the wrong direction, compared with 53% who believe that it is on the right track. For the most part, those in both groups believe that New York City was on the same track prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The results reveal a partisan split, with 62% of Democrats saying that New York is on the “right track,” while 72% of Republicans say that it is headed in the “wrong direction.” And there is regional variation across the city’s boroughs; in the Bronx, the belief that the city is on the right track is 22% higher today than it was before the pandemic, while other boroughs had little to no movement in opinion.

The Democrats delight in threatening the rich that when they get into office, the wealthy will “pay their fair share.” Many of them already think they’re paying enough. Once Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren get their hands on the levers of power, many wealthy people won’t just want to leave the city. They’ll want to leave the country.

And if they’re smart, they’re already moving their assets overseas to protect them.

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