Whether you’re a long-time New Yorker or a newcomer to the city, reports that the city’s population is growing again might strike you as less than good news. After all, the public transportation infrastructure is crowded and inefficient at times, there are lengthy waiting lists for the city’s best schools, and the housing market has struggled to recover from the Great Recession. But population growth is a wonderful “problem” for a city to have; here’s why NYC’s population boom is good news for you.
What is Behind the Population Growth?
To understand the benefits of the city’s growing population, it’s important to know the people behind the numbers. New York’s five boroughs represent a very diverse and fluid populace, a dynamic that makes the city a unique and desirable place to live. For the first time since the 1960s, more people have moved to the city from other US cities than moved away, a positive sign that New York is well into financial recovery after the Recession.
Also, New York continues to be a magnet for immigrants, adding to its vibrant cultural life. Perhaps most importantly, the city has reversed its natural decline, with births outpacing deaths for the last three years. These demographic trends indicate a sense of optimism that New York is a great place to live and raise a family.
How Population Growth Improves the City
With services and infrastructure already overextended, it may be hard to see the benefits of a growing population. A stagnant or declining population, however, inevitably leads to further cuts in investment in education, infrastructure, and services (think Detroit). A growing city, on the other hand, has the resources to support and expand the programs and services that make life in NYC so desirable. It can effectively plan and budget for improvements in housing, education, parks, community, and civic life. A growing tax base allows for more equitable financing of city services, like universal pre-K, innovative schools, invigorating parks, and other public spaces. A growing city also attracts entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors. A city that bleeds its human capital loses essential resources to maintain and improve the quality of life for its residents.
Population Growth is Great for the Real Estate Market
Affordable housing has long been a concern for New Yorkers, and during his tenure, Mayor Bloomberg attacked the problem with waterfront housing development and converting office space in lower Manhattan into living space.
Recently elected mayor Bill DeBlasio committed to an aggressive plan of creating 200,000 affordable housing units in the next ten years. For sellers, increased demand for all kinds of housing, including the desirable Long Island suburbs, means better prices and shorter listing times. For investors, innovative opportunities like Breather, a company that offers private, creative space by the hour, a rare commodity in a busy city like New York, offer excellent returns on investment. And for buyers, the city’s improved prospects mean that real estate purchases will steadily increase in value.
New York’s population boom is proof that the city remains pre-eminent as the nation’s most diverse, dynamic, and desirable location for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, financiers, and artists–secure today, and in the future.