Palm trees, green juices and a high cost of living await those who move from NYC to La La Land, and that’s an apparently attractive recipe for transplants from Manhattan and Brooklyn, according to a new StreetEasy report.
One would think New Yorkers would seek a life of lower rent, lower taxes and cheaper groceries — but according to the report, many are flocking to similarly pricey areas.
The report used 2011-15 ACS census data on county-to-county migration outflows to calculate where New Yorkers are moving.
Nearly 5 percent of Manhattan residents leave the city each year, according to the report, and 1 in 5 of those move to expensive areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Even if they stay closer to home and remain in the tristate area — which about 38.8 percent do — they tend to flock to higher priced suburbs like those in Westchester or Hudson counties.
Similarly, Los Angeles is the No. 1 destination for Brooklynites bidding farewell to bagels and dollar slices.
“We’ve seen this trend broadly, nationally increasing over time … When they leave high income places, they tend to move to other high income places,” said Grant Long, a senior economist at StreetEasy. “A lot of it has to do with economic opportunity — we see a lot of demand for high-skilled labor in areas like San Francisco.”
Pearl Wu, 33, moved with her husband from Bushwick to Los Angeles nearly four years ago so he could find more work in the animation industry. The couple now have a 19-month-old son, and don’t even see a comparison in the standard of living between the two cities.
“We wanted to have a family and New York didn’t seem good for that. We didn’t want to be carrying strollers up and down the subway every day,” said Wu, who now lives in Burbank. “It’s still expensive, but I think you get a lot more out here — when you go see a two-bed, two-bath it actually has two bedrooms and two baths, it’s not two closets and a porta-potty.”
Wu said she can deal with the Los Angeles prices because of her memories of New York City life.
“I think it’s definitely more expensive than I would hope after leaving New York, but it’s definitely a bargain in comparison,” she added.
Sumana Maitra, 31, just moved back to California from Midtown East, with an eye on ending up in Los Angeles. She lived in San Francisco before her six-month stint in New York, but said the Bay Area was just too expensive to go back home.
“I’ve just lived in expensive places my whole life, so I wanted to go to slightly cheaper. I’m just moving my way down the list,” she joked about New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. “I like the culture here, I feel like I understand the mindset better in California. Everyone is laid back, there’s a much better work/life balance.”
Ashley Fields, 30, moved to Studio City in Los Angeles from Bushwick about two months ago. Fields, who works in the entertainment industry, mostly moved for job opportunities, but said being close to nature is a big draw.
“I had been living in Bushwick for eight years straight in the same tiny little room. At some point you do grow out of spaces,” said Fields, who had been in the city for 13 years before her move west. “I get a mix of my city and nature that’s a lot more accessible than it is in New York now.
“There is the joy of driving my car to and from — I’m no longer sardined into the L train and I get to sit down for an hour and listen to whatever I want,” she added. “[LA] is a place to grow and New York feels stagnated.”
Andrew Beveridge, chair of the sociology department at Queens College, said people tend to leave the city for better job opportunities or schools for their children.
“The big take-away is that the people leaving New York by and large are not going to low-cost housing areas and they don’t seem to be avoiding high-cost taxes,” he said, adding that New Yorkers “are not shopping for bargain basement places to go.”
Not all New Yorkers, however, are eager to wave so long to the city: residents of the Bronx and Staten Island tend not to leave their boroughs, according to the report, and they stay on the East Coast when they do.
Queens residents who leave tend to head to states like Florida or Texas, where the state income tax is either low or zero.