New York City has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring economic fallout, this has been known for a while. However, a new study from location analytics company Unacast goes through the numbers.
The report examined the impacts of Covid-19 on three New York City neighborhoods; Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Astoria in Queens, and Tribeca in Manhattan. About 3.57 million people in total left the city this year between January 1st and December 7th. about 3.5 million people have immigrated to New York, meaning the net outflow is around 70,000 people.
Unacast found that those people took with them about $298 billion dollars of income, while the 3.5 million who immigrated to New York in that same period brought about $264 billion to NYC, leaving about $34 billion in lost income in the 8 months of the pandemic.
The new, New Yorkers make considerably less than those who lived there before. Meaning they can afford less in terms of mortgages, rent, restaurants, retail, and other consumer expenditures. Both the retail (-33% foot traffic vs. 2019) and restaurant (-34%) industries have and are continuing to suffer greatly. Indoor dining has been shut down indefinitely and Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for a second total lockdown after Christmas.
These declines are not all foot traffic-related, but a tertiary cause is net outflow in city neighborhood populations everywhere, coupled with a reduction in average income and therefore reduced buying power.
These losses are certainly bad for NYC, but these numbers could have been much worse. It is not enough to stop the bleeding, elected officials and business leaders must reverse this trend. They must show a dedication to the community and to small businesses. Measures like another prolonged lockdown, bills allowing neighbors to rat out neighbors for profit, tax hikes just won’t cut it.