Monroe County’s population declined slightly over the COVID-19 pandemic, new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show.
From April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2022, the county lost 7,409 residents or 1 percent of its total population, placing it in the middle of the pack among New York counties.
In the Rochester-Finger Lakes region, only Ontario County grew–increasing its population by 248 residents, or 0.2 percent. The other counties posted negative growth rates: Livingston, -0.5 percent; Orleans, -2.6 percent; Wayne, -0.2 percent; and Yates, -1.3 percent.
Statewide, New York’s population declined 2.6 percent, a loss of nearly 525,000 residents.
An exodus from much of the New York City area accounted for most of the decline. The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn all recorded population losses of at least 5 percent, totaling more than 460,000 residents. (Manhattan rebounded somewhat in the 12-month period ended July 2022, gaining 17,000 residents.
Areas that increased their population from 2020 to 2022 include Otsego, Saratoga, Orange, and Oswego counties. However, with all counties that gained residents, the average growth rate was less than 1 percent.
In the two-year period, births and deaths in Monroe County nearly canceled each other, resulting in a net gain of seven people. By contrast, Erie County had nearly 3,000 more deaths than births.
Similar to the rest of New York, domestic migration was the biggest factor in Monroe County’s population decline. From April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2022, more than 10,000 people left the county for other parts of the state or elsewhere in the U.S. During the same period, 660,000 New Yorkers left for other states.
In Monroe County, net international migration produced a gain of 2,747 residents. New York as a whole gained roughly 108,000 people from net international migration.
Jacob Schermerhorn is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].