While serving as secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson was tasked with documenting the key traits of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793.
In addition to accurately indexing the most characteristic symptoms, Jefferson was able to identify some of the cultural elements that contributed to repeated outbreaks.
At the time, Philidelphia was America’s busiest city. As such, the citizens began fleeing for more remote regions (Alexander Hamilton and George Washington included).
Although Jefferson stayed for a little while longer, he predicted this epidemic marked the end of cities, writing: “Everybody who can is flying from the city, and the panic of the country people is likely to add famine to disease. Practical to prevent its [yellow fever] generation by building our cities on a more open plan.”
His prediction didn’t exactly pan out, but over two centuries later New York City is experiencing a comparably panicked exodus.
Moving companies are reportedly so flooded at the moment in the big apple, they’ve had to turn many clients away.
“All of the things I loved about New York City kind of just disappeared because of COVID,” a former New Yorker who recently moved to Florida told ABC 7.
New York’s perceived quality of life during the pandemic appears to be largely dependent on income.
A new study conducted by the Siena College Research Institute between July 13–August 3, 2020, determined that 44% of high-earning New York citizens have been actively considering re-locating in the last four months.
New York City: Future of Work and Quality of Life
“Residents who earn $100,000 or more make up 80% of New York City’s income-tax revenue, making the city especially vulnerable to tax-base erosion,” the authors wrote. A substantial share of New York City residents earning more than $100,000 are working from home, have considered leaving the city, and show dissatisfaction with the city’s cost of living.
Nearly two in five New Yorkers making six-figure salaries or higher believe that the city is headed in the wrong direction. These high-earning residents report a steep drop in quality of life since March, with satisfaction cut in half since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. “
The principal factors were as follows:
–Cost of living (69% for all of the respondents. Among blacks, this figure is closer to 77% and among Hispanics, the figure is roughly 79%.)
-A desire for a non-urban lifestyle (46%)
-The ability to work from home (30%).
An additional 37% are confident that they move out of the city at some point in the next two years.
The cost of living was the most influential factor occasioned in the report, though the depth of its influence was more meaningfully impacted by the age of the respondents.
Seventy-six percent of respondents 65 years and older, said that they have not considered moving out of New York City since the COVID-19 pandemic began, while only 49% of those aged 18 to 44 said the same.
Similarly, 72% of those 65 and older featured in the new survey would say that it is “not very” or “not at all” likely that they will leave the city in the next two years, compared to the 55% would agree among the 18–44 age demographic.
“Turning to challenges for New York City, 75% of respondents cited income taxes as a problem, while 72% pointed to traffic and 68% to the reliability of public transportation. The greatest concern of all was the likelihood of coronavirus spread, with 90% saying that it posed a problem for them,” the authors concluded. “Places to eat and drink, as well as arts and culture, are particularly valued by residents of Manhattan (95% and 97%, respectively, either a “great deal” or “somewhat”). Younger respondents (aged 18–44) particularly value the economic opportunities of New York City as well as its restaurants and bars (both by 94%), while those aged 65 or older were likelier to appreciate arts and culture a “great deal” (84%). Maintaining and restoring these urban amenities may help in retaining (and attracting) high-income residents in New York City.”