The relative decline of New York

By Razib Khan | October 7, 2012 10:38 pm

Despite the real estate bubble bursting, it looks as if Florida will surpass New York in population by the next Census. I once made some quick money by betting an older gentleman that Texas had a larger population than New York. I suspect there’s even more money to be made by betting people that Florida has a larger population than New York in a few years. The reality is that most people don’t check statistics in their free time, so some “facts” get frozen in their minds. A great number of adults alive today were told in elementary or secondary school that New York was the second largest state in population. They are unlikely to update their views as they age. Unfortunately, I suspect these confusions are going to lead to public policy problems as well. I am not confident that our elected officials are any more aware of statistics than their constituents.

MORE ABOUT: Florida, New York
  • Mike Keesey

    When I was a child (in the ’80s) I learned that Alaska, the state with the most land, had the lowest population. It wasn’t until I (briefly) moved to Wyoming as an adult that I learned that Alaska had edged into #49, outpacing Wyoming and ruining the irony.

  • Chris_T_T

    This is probably why politics often feels like the ’80s versus the ’60s.

  • Richard P

    I’m glad to see California’s population continuing to grow so rapidly. I was driving on the 101 last Friday during rush hour and it was practically empty. Just shot right home like a greased pig. Yup, we also have far more jobs than people. In fact, all those people moving in aren’t enough to fill all the wonderful job openings we have.

    So please, save California and finally open it up to hypermigration!

  • ziel

    I wonder how well you could do betting people that Vietnam is bigger than Germany.

  • Joe Q.

    The stagnation of NY’s population is a bit of a surprise at first glance, but brings to mind my impressions on driving through Buffalo and Rochester — once part of the industrial / manufacturing heartland, but now shadows of their former selves.

  • Razib Khan

    #5, western new york = what if michigan/ohio were not swing states?

  • Jim R

    I’m pretty confident that the senior elected officials who make decisions are the same people who do, or would like to, have influence in national elections. These people would therefore know the number of electoral votes and congressional districts that each state has. I talk to some of the equivalent people, as well as representatives who don’t do much nationally, in my country, and they generally would know this information.

  • wes

    Robert Kaplan, in a new book, “The Revenge of Geography”, makes the point that the American Southwest is in danger of literally becoming unhinged from the US. He mentions that the elites are fascinated by the Middle East, but are unaware of the potential crisis right here. We have a potential failed state just south of the “border”, which isn’t really a border.

    But the people who run the country in NYC and Hollywood, are basically unaware of it. That’s boring fly over country. The elites may be in for some real shocks in the coming years.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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