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Former New York residents reveal reasons for blue state exodus: 'I stopped loving it'

Longtime New York residents discussed their reasons for leaving the city, which included issues regarding the pandemic as well as the growing crime problem.

Ex-New Yorkers are speaking out on being among the thousands who have left the Big Apple in recent years.

"I think everybody’s noticed a little bit of a shift in the city over the last year or so in terms of safety and cleanliness," 31-year-old Samantha Pillsbury told the New York Post.

According to a report released in December by the U.S. Census Bureau, 101,984 people moved out of the state of New York in 2023. This was the largest state population loss in the entire country. 

Pillsbury left more recently for Los Angeles in February after living in New York for nine years.

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"The short answer is that I stopped loving it as much," Pillsbury said. "In the last couple of years, the tide sort of turned for how I felt about the city."

The content creator and marketing consultant cited multiple reasons for her move, including the "work-obsessed culture" of the city and the noticeable rise in crime.

"I’m a single woman, and it started to get less safe, which then affects your entire life," she told the Post.

Similarly, 37-year-old Stephanie Heintz moved from New York City back in October, citing crime since the pandemic as a factor.

"It became an area where I was carrying pepper spray. I was physically attacked on the street a few times," Heintz said, according to the Post. "I felt myself changing, I felt my energy changing. I felt like I was not engaging at all. And if anything, I was jumpy."

She added, "I had this ‘the world was my oyster’ kind of feeling. And then it suddenly flipped to where I was confined to this small, tiny apartment. I could barely even walk my dog."

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Heintz noted that she regularly came across people doing heroin or defecating down her block, even remarking that she was spat on the day she decided to leave the city.

She has since moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"I thought during the pandemic everyone in Florida was crazy. But you know, moving to a place with sunshine and different taxes and the beach and smiling past your neighbors and engaging and saying ‘Hello,’ it’s been really nice," she said.

30-year-old Sophie Alvi specifically called out the "cold" and "hectic" life in New York City and praised her new home’s peaceful environment in Austin, Texas.

"I can wake up and hear the birds chirping or just like, I hear a rooster from my apartment," she said.

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The three, however, still spoke kindly about their former home.

"I really did believe all the cliché sayings of that, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I still believe that," Heintz said. "I believed that it was a city that never sleeps."

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