Middle class New Yorkers are relocating to cities like Charlotte, Dallas, Austin, Atlanta and other cities that provide a decent quality of life for their families at lower cost. Here are the top five reasons:

1. Housing and basic cost of living in the five boroughs has risen much more rapidly than incomes earned by most middle-income New Yorkers. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index, an analysis by the Council for Community and Economic Research, found that Manhattan by far had the highest cost of living in the U.S., with a cost that’s more than twice the national average. Queens was about 1.5 times higher than the national average and only Manhattan, San Francisco, Honolulu and San Jose were more expensive. Not surprisingly, housing costs constitute a significant part of the cost burden.

2. New York City’s job mix has shifted away from positions that provide middle-income wages and benefits. According to a report by the , since 2008, both the city and New York metropolitan region have lost a far greater share of jobs in blue collar sectors like manufacturing and wholesale trade than most other cities. Of the 10 occupations expecting to have the largest number of job openings in the city through 2014, only two offer wages greater than $28,000 per year.

3. Inferior quality of public schools. The low quality of public schools has continually pushed middle class families out of the city when their kids enter elementary or middle school. These families have little faith in the public school system and simply cannot afford to send their kids to private schools so they are relocating their families to other locations.

4. Long commuting times on public transportation have diminished quality of life for many middle class New Yorkers as higher real estate prices have pushed them outside of the five boroughs. Therefore they are relocating where commute times to work are shorter.

5. Most residential development in middle class neighborhoods has been “out of scale”, disturbing existing communities. Many residents, who originally chose their neighborhoods for the mix of single family homes, quiet streets and parking availability, are finding that recent developments are negatively impacting the quality of their communities.




Reviving the City of Aspiration – Center for Urban Future (http://nycfuture.org/images_pdfs/pdfs/CityOfAspiration.pdf)

City to Middle Class: Just Not That Into You (http://observer.com/2009/02/city-to-middle-class-just-not-that-into-you/)