70% Happy They Live in NY; 30% Wish They Lived Somewhere Else

  • State Gets High Grades for Our People, Education, Healthcare, Leisure & Chance to be Successful; Low Marks for Affordability, Retirement, Politics & Feeling Safe from Crime
  • Top Sites for NY’ers: NYC Attractions, Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, State Capital

Press Release       Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY – Seventy percent of New Yorkers say that they are happy that they live in New York while 30% say that they wish they lived somewhere else according to a new survey of New York residents released today from the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI).  Similarly, 71% plan to continue to live in New York five years from today while 27% say that they will leave the state.  Sixty percent plan to retire in New York but 31% will retire and live somewhere else.

Over 70% rated the state as either excellent or good on the availability of leisure activities (79%), presence of people they enjoy (77%), access to quality education (73%), access to quality healthcare (72%) and as a place where people can become successful (70%).  But majorities rate New York State no better than only fair, or poor on affordability (67%), as a place to retire (60%) and as a place where the political system works for people like them (57%).  Residents are split – 51% excellent or good but 49% only fair or poor – on New York being a place where they feel safe from crime.  Eighty-five percent have been to NYC including Broadway, Times Square, the Empire State Building or Ground Zero as an adult while 67% visited the Statue of Liberty, 63% have gone to Niagara Falls and 60% have been to the State Capital in Albany.

“Large majorities of New Yorkers say the quality of life in the Empire State is excellent or good, and that they are happy that they live here,” said Don Levy, SCRI’s Director. “But about 30% say they wish they lived elsewhere and 31% plan to leave New York when they retire.”

“Most say that there’s alot to love here in New York – other New Yorkers, the quality of both education and healthcare, the availability of quality leisure activities and the opportunity to be successful – but two-thirds give the state a poor grade on affordability, and half of all New Yorkers, and about 60% of lower income residents, those over 50, Blacks and Republicans say that as a place where you feel safe from crime, the state is only fair or poor.”

New Yorkers’ Rating 13 Attributes of Life in New York:  Percent Excellent or Good/Only Fair or Poor

“When you simultaneously consider New Yorkers’ ratings of the state on all 13 of these aspects of life, we find that New York City residents rate the state higher than do NYC suburbs who in turn rate the state higher than do Upstaters.  Democrats, those over 50, white residents and those 35-49 rate the state most highly while through the eyes of Republicans, independents, Blacks and those earning under $50K a year, the state receives the lowest grades,” Levy noted.  [provide POP Score in appendix]

Enjoying the Sites and Attractions of New York State

Asked which of 10 sites or attractions they have visited during their adult life, the leading attraction among New Yorkers is New York City including Broadway, Times Square, the Empire State Building or Ground Zero.  Eighty-five percent have enjoyed the landmarks of the Big Apple.  Nearly all New York City and metro suburban residents have been to Manhattan while 69% of Upstaters have as well.

The Statue of Liberty finishes second with 67% visiting, followed by Niagara Falls at 63% and the State Capital in Albany at 60%.  Slightly more than half of New Yorkers have been to both the Adirondacks and Long Island beaches and just under half, 47% have visited the Finger Lakes.  Only 33% have been to The Thousand Islands.

“New York State has so much to offer and most New Yorkers have visited the sites of Manhattan but there is still room on the bucket list for many to visit major attractions including the Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls and the State Capital.  Only about half of New Yorkers have been to regional treasures like the Long Island Beaches, the Adirondacks, and the Finger Lakes while just a third have visited the Thousand Islands,” Levy said.

“Is New York perfect?  New Yorkers appreciate many aspects of life here – education, healthcare, the people and yes, even the weather – but affordability, crime and politics weigh on many.  Most plan to stay but 27% say that they will leave the state within the next five years. While only 38% give the state an excellent or good rating as a place to retire, 60% plan to spend their golden years here.  Still, 31%, including 39% of young people and 41% of Republicans, plan to retire elsewhere,” Levy said.

This Siena College Poll was conducted March 6 –  March 9, 2023 by random telephone calls to 406 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 389 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers.  Respondent sampling via phone was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. The overall results has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (from ASDE Survey Sampler) and cell phone (from Dynata) telephone numbers from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from the telephone and web samples were blended and statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity, gender and party to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Don Levy at 518-783-2901.  Survey cross-tabulations and buying plans can be found at www.siena.edu/scri/cci.


*These Percent of the Possible (POP Scores) are computed by considering each respondent’s answer to the 13 questions in which they rate the State of New York on attributes from affordability (Q.6) through ‘as a place to retire’ (Q.18).  A score of 100 would result from every respondent rating the state as excellent on every one of the 13 indicators.  A score of 66 is a collective ‘good’, while a score of 33 is a collective ‘only fair’. 

These score provide a quick means of assessing the collective ranking or all New Yorkers as well as the ability to see the differences across demographic variables.