Study Links Westchester's Youth Flight To Lack Of Diversity

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Brant Bloom (right) gets lunch with friend Eric Weintraub (left), before he moves from White Plains to Florida Saturday.
Brant Bloom (right) gets lunch with friend Eric Weintraub (left), before he moves from White Plains to Florida Saturday. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
A study shows the greatest losses of Westchester's 25-to-34 year old demographic have happened in communities with the highest home prices and least affordable housing.
A study shows the greatest losses of Westchester's 25-to-34 year old demographic have happened in communities with the highest home prices and least affordable housing. Photo Credit: Community Housing Innovations
The shaded areas indicate areas that have lost more than 20 percent of their 25-34 year old populations between 2000 and 2007-2011 in northern Westchester.
The shaded areas indicate areas that have lost more than 20 percent of their 25-34 year old populations between 2000 and 2007-2011 in northern Westchester. Photo Credit: Community Housing Innovations
The shaded areas indicate areas that have lost more than 20 percent of their 25-34 year old populations between 2000 and 2007-2011 in southern Westchester.
The shaded areas indicate areas that have lost more than 20 percent of their 25-34 year old populations between 2000 and 2007-2011 in southern Westchester. Photo Credit: Community Housing Innovations

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – While many blame Westchester County’s high cost of living and lack of night life for the mass exodus of young people since 2000 – a trend known as “youth flight” – a new study links the largest losses to the lack of diversity in those communities.

The Community Housing Innovations study looked at U.S. Census data from 2000 and American Community Survey data from 2007-2011 in Westchester and Long Island. It shows the biggest loss of 25-to-34-year-olds have happened in the wealthiest communities with the least affordable housing.

They are topped by Rye at 63 percent, Pound Ridge at 58 percent, Lewisboro at 54 percent and Scarsdale at 52 percent.

The study says that greatest losses have happened in communities with an African-American population of less than five percent. 

Overall, 13 percent of that age group has left the county, compared to increases of .5-percent in residents aged 35-to-44 and 57 percent in those aged 45-54, according to U.S. Census data.

The report concludes that restrictions on affordable multi-family housing threaten the regional economy.

However, Ned McCormack, spokesman for Westchester County, disagrees with the study's use and interpretation of data. He said its 5.5-percent unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the state.

“What the data tells you is that people in Westchester are having their children later,” McCormack said. “That’s reflected in the fact that our public schools have been growing in the last 10 years. They're up 2.5 percent overall.”

It is also reflected in individuals like John Jay senior Luke Krantz of South Salem. After college, he said he would like to move to a city, but could see himself moving back to Westchester when he is older.

"It's definitely not a bad place to be," he said. 

Many Westchester residents say the main reason young people leave is because it's just too expensive. 

Scott Schonberg, 30, lives in Lewisboro, but plans to move to New York City once a law enforcement job comes through. Once that happens, he said, “Like everyone else, I’m gone.”

Lifelong Westchester resident Eric Weintraub, 37, is moving to Florida on Saturday, saying he wants a better quality of life and fewer taxes. He grew up in Armonk and then Bedford and attended both John Jay Middle School and Fox Lane High School.

The current White Plains resident said he wants to get out before getting tied down. His friend, Brant Bloom, said he has a home in Ridgefield, Conn., that is now worth half of what he paid for it, along with a daughter in college.

“These guys are exiting because they see no future,” Bloom said of those in their 20s and 30s. “They see their parents barely holding onto their homes.

“I don’t think there’s anything to keep young people here,” he said.

The study points out that the 10 Westchester communities that have lost more than 20 percent of their 25-to-34 demographic are all named in the county’s affordable housing settlement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

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Comments (22)

Young people are leaving New York all over the state because the economy has been destroyed by short sighted confiscatory government policies. Diversity has nothing to do with it.

My study shows liberal media will make up and or endorse out any "study " that supports their liberal position without vetting the methodology . Taxes are to high in westchester to pay for the states dead wood lifetime welfare families, illegals, soon college for felons, to go with in state tuition for illegals. The jobs are gone to india and the far east or to the southern US. I want to live on Park Avenue in NYC in Manhattan around 58 th street Where is my federal lawsuit to let me move in ? Where is the Diversity ? When spike lee complained about white yuppies moving into where he used to live , did you blast him with an editorial ? Of course not.

There is a lack of diversity... with respect to low tax areas. They're all high!
NY State as a whole is a fiscal cesspool. There should be an article on that daily.

The reason the children of the wealthiest are leaving at a higher rate is...


After graduating college, they do not need to return home and then start their employment search. They will most likely make more in their positions and do not need to live at home. And if they do not work in an industry with very high pay, their parents can help pay their rent. The idea that rich white young adults are leaving Westchester to be with Blacks or Latinos is ABSURD! If this where the case they could move to Yonkers, Peekskill, White Plains, Tarrytown, and Elmsford. The list is endless.
BTW, what does diversity mean? Is it country where a person is born, where parents were born, languages spoken? Or Black, White, Brown? Is a town with 38% Hispanic, 29% White, 19% Black, and 10% Asian not diverse? This town is Elmsford (
I pity anyone that cannot logically understand this and hope those who wrote, edited and approved this article hang their head low when they step into church on Sunday. And when they look at their children and tell them what is right and what is wrong, I hope they feel the pain that they are causing race relations by publishing trash like this article.

Also, Section 8 tenants are required to pay 30% of the household income towards their own share of the rent. They typically work part-time, rarely more than 25 hours per week; only very rarely do they earn more than $12/hour. Therefore, their rent share is so small; typically less than $300/month.

If our society needs more immigrants so badly, why are their work hours minimal, and their compensation so low?

Molly, you have had the most informed and insightful comments on this string. You laid bare the destructive, corrupt, and insidious nature of these rulings. I hope people will carefully read each of your comments. Any sane person will become increasingly enraged as they begin to fully realize what has happened to this county/state/country.

The implication of the title (as many have already pointed out) would be ridiculous were it not so pathetic:

Hysterical HUD: “You see, Whites, your own children are abandoning you because you have [supposedly] barred any nonwhites from living in your towns! They see you as evil racist tyrants! Lower taxes, cheaper home prices and better jobs in TX and MD – really almost any other state – have nothing to do with it!”

Sorry, HUD, but no one believes.

In my experience, most people disagree with HUD, and they are extremely critical of Section 8. The large landlord corporations make a huge profit: the government pays its typical $1200 (or more)/month share of the rent more reliably than any tenant, who after all might get laid off or otherwise experience an unexpected financial crisis. These landlord corporations make large political donations; therefore, the politicians preserve the unjust free-rent-for-some system. Is it democracy or destabilization?

HUD pays inflated rents for Section 8 apartments; thereby establishing an extremely high minimum rent for all potential tenants. Typically the Section 8 renter pays less than $300/month for a 2 or 3-bedroom unit (which must pass regular inspections); HUD pays the $1200/month difference straight to the landlords, who are often corporate. The middle-class gets stuck with both sky-high taxes and grossly inflated housing costs.

HUD eligibility rules are murky, and seem in my opinion to be pure political patronage on a grand scale. If a low-income individual is not blessed by Section 8, HUD worsens his plight by removing the free market which would have allowed him to simply find a less expensive place to live. Without HUD we would have more variety of housing situations, and a greater range of rental prices; and therefore, less homelessness.

The 2009 Settlement itself is reason to leave Westchester County. Say at 30yo, a young couple can afford to make a down payment on a house. Are they going to invest that money in one of HUD’s Target Towns (ex. Pleasantville) in which the government is deliberately trying to place large numbers of Section 8 families? The government is not using any form of merit to determine who will get these mostly free homes.

The headline is pure propaganda. The “researchers” are trying to make it sound as though young (20 – 30 yo) people, specifically White young people, in contradiction to nature, simply abhor the thought of living with their own kind, even in a neighborhood which may only be 50% White, as are most of the communities falsely labeled by HUD as 90% or more White.

Keep in mind that in the 2009 Settlement, HUD used a twisted metric which grossly inflates the proportion of Whites in our communities; essentially, Asians count as Whites, and people who claim mixed Black & White ancestry are also “Whites.” President Obama himself would be considered White.

You can read it here:

I'm part of the age group that is leaving. We recently moved up here when we could afford the cost of living (taxes = wtf!). We started our family younger than our friends-for a family it's great, for young singles-why live up here? The article is looking for reasons that are in contrast to common sense and reality.

The organization that assembled the original "study" in which they imposed their opinion on the data are supporters of subsidized (aka "affordable") housing and the consent decree forcing Westchester to build subsidized housing in a specific set of communities and then market that same housing to people from outside the county. Having looked at the underlying data, there is no/zero basis for asserting that the "lack of affordable housing" is why people in their 20s and early 30s have been leaving specific communities. As a prime example, while Rye's population of 20 / early 30s has shrunk, the overall population of Rye has increased by 5%. The largest increases? K-12 age kids. So someone must not have a problem with the affordability of housing in Rye. The same goes for many of the other communities identified by the so-called study. Patch, if you're going to post press releases, please at least include a disclosure AND seek to obtain corroborating and correcting information.

Young people want to move from their parents' home to a place where they can get a job and rent an apartment. Of course they're not going to find those in Pound Ridge, Lewisboro or Rye. How many 25 to 35 year-olds do you know who can buy a house in any of those communities? None. Mount Vernon has lots of ethnic diversity, but it's also loaded with crime, slums,
gangs, shootings and drugs. The young people from affluent towns are certainly not relocating to Mount Vernon or Peekskill for the diversity or for any other reason, and the Federal Government has no right to order individual towns to change their building codes and zoning laws and order the construction of "affordable" housing.

TAXES that sap economic growth.

No wealth creation (making things from raw material) work for crafts workers, for engineers, for laborers, etc.; aka manufacturing.

NY politicians hate manufacturing, they drive it away.

NY politicians hate making the state thrive, no gas production here, just over the line in Pennsylvania.

The "diversity" buzz word is meaningless; people live where they can work in real jobs, afford and want to live.

Create the economic environment for people to stay here.

NYS population is increasing not decreasing. This article refers to Westchester County and some of its most wealthy communities. It likely has nothing to do with taxes, democrats, republicans, Cuomo, immigrants, yadda yadda yadda. It seems logical that young people who do not need nor could afford a 2500 sq ft house for $1M would look to live somewhere where they can rent a decent apartment and be close enough to enjoy all that NYC has to offer.

The 'diversity' referred to here is not the dog-whistle phrase you instinctively respond to (honey, pack up the kids --- we got 'other types of people' moving in). Its housing and demographic diversity that city/village/municipal planning boards are concerned with because there is a need for a broad spectrum to sustain a vibrant community. The unintended consequence of 20+ years of town board policies that lead to the development of ONLY single family homes in high net worth areas is now being realized. Its not 'social engineering' -- its called city planning.

I wish that were the case but please consider the following in response to your comment:
NY lost 2 Congressional seats. That didn't happen because of robust population growth. It has been an exodus, primarily of taxpayers. Maker vs Taker
As to Zoning, why did the Affordable Housing Judgement target communities having a variety of housing stock - from apartment over retail space, to co-ops, town houses, small single family home, to multimillion dollar estates? There was something for everyone who wished to work hard enough to afford what was within their means.
Regardless of where one lives, or whether one rents or not (the landlord passes on the financial exposure) it is the TAXES making homes unaffordable.
What made the judgment so offensive was precisely the insinuation of your dog whistle diversity and an assumption of prejudice where NONE existed.
If they Cuomo & HUD) wanted to make housing affordable, why didn't they allow for municipalities to earmark housing for workforce - teachers, police, firefighters, etc? That was NOT ALLOWED.
Net net, we have allowed liberal politicians to erect a fiscally unsustainable state- our children cannot afford it, and soon we won't be able to either.

in 1989 i moved my family, a wife and two baby daughters, from Hartsdale NY to Sunrise FLA

the calculation was to move to northern WESTCHESTER and incur additional commuting costs for a less expensive house OR sell our co-op unit and buy a house in FLORIDA

the kids were so young they took to the change and my wife took a NY salary with XEROX to her transfer position downtown FT LAUDERDALE and i took my chances for employment in accounting

we never looked back

The writer obviously took a Common Core stats class. Correlation, Causation - it's economic eg state mandated costs (Cuomo), etc, NOT this simplistic notion the writer pulled out of the sky like a 3rd grader looking for an excuse. Imposed 'diversity' and social engineering will make Westchester even more unaffordable. More Takers; less Makers.

How does this article describe their flight due to lack of "diversity?" It talks ONLY about economics.... If the author meant ETHNIC diversity he should have said so. Else, this is nothing more than kids moving out to live on their own where they can afford to. Agree w/ first poster -- this is a b.s. article, and Brian, the writer, needs help w/ headline writing.

i have to take issue with you. cuomo is doing the most damage now, hes gotta go. the progressives are just taking over, bloomberg had 12 years to wring every cent out of nyers, all the while saving our health and making us safe. bloomy also drove up rents in and around nyc . he brought tech to nyc but tech is only helping a small percentage. dems are not the problem, dino's -dems in name only- are the problem, cuomo, bloomberg et al.. if we get a new governor this november, ny will turn around.

A "study", by some no name liberal group defies common sense, claiming "diversity" is the problem in Westchester. Liberals need to face reality, ITS THE TAXES, ITS THE COST OF LIVING, ITS THE ILLEGALS burdening the tax payers. The liberal experiment is crashing, thank God.