Florida could soon replace New York as the third most populous state in the country, pushing the Empire State into fourth place in 2014.
The Census Bureau will release its latest population estimates on Monday, and demographers expect the two states to be narrowly separated, with Florida ahead by a few thousand people,reports The New York Times
The last census estimate in July 2012 showed that New York had a population of 19.6 million and Florida had 19.3 million.
The new figures are likely to indicate that foreign-born migrants are moving to warm-weather states such as California and Texas, the No. 1 and No. 2 most populous states, respectively, as well as Florida. More than 50,000 New York residents now move to Florida every year, many of them retirees. That's more than half the number of Floridians that reverse the trend and move north to New York, the Times reported.
"It's going to happen," Andrew Beveridge, a professor of sociology at Queens College in New York City, told the Times of Florida moving into third place. "And if Florida accidentally grew faster and New York slowed down, it could have happened already."
Still, being in fourth place does not mean New York is actually losing population. The state has been growing at a rate of about 1 percent in recent years, the Times said, but that is slower than Florida's growth rate of about 2.7 percent annually.
The changing pattern, however, could have political and economic repercussions for New York, including fewer members of Congress and less money in federal funding and grants.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has been trying to boost growth in upstate cities such as Buffalo, which has reportedly lost more than 10 percent of its population since 2000, through a number of economic development programs, including Start-up NY
, which creates tax-free zones for new and expanding businesses.
Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott, meanwhile, has taken several steps to reverse Florida's fortunes in the wake of the housing crisis, cutting taxes, and reducing regulations
"Florida is getting its economic groove back," Mekael Teshome, an economist at PNC Financial Services Group, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
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