How Many Students Either Exit or Transfer Within the NYC School System in a Single Year?

Each school year there is considerable movement of students who transfer from one school to another or out of the city’s public school system altogether. To develop a clearer picture of the extent of this movement and some factors that may prompt these transfers and exits from the school system, we tracked the mobility of students enrolled in the city’s traditional public schools and charter schools over a one-year period from the start of school year 2014-2015 to the start of the next school year. There were 1.043 million students enrolled in grades K-12 at the start of this period. When you take into account the students who graduated from high school or moved on, for example, from elementary school to middle school, you are left with 872,863 students.

  • More than 730,000 students remained in the same school from the start of school year 2014-2015 to the start of the next school year—a stability rate of 84 percent. This rate was higher in grades K-8 (84 percent) than in high schools (82 percent). The 2014-2015 stability rate was 2 percentage points higher than the rate for 2011-2012.
  • More students transferred schools (77,800, or 9 percent) than exited the system either to go to a private school or a school outside the city (51,500, or 6 percent) or dropped out or otherwise left the school system without graduating (13,300, or less than 2 percent). Transfers occur for a variety of reasons ranging from transfers prompted by the Department of Education to improve a student’s opportunities for learning to temporary transfers to a school or program, to elective transfers by the family, including to and from charter schools.

  • Not all transfers or exits are permanent. Some of the 142,617 students who initially transferred or exited switched again during the 2014-2015 school year or in the following summer. Nearly 2,700 students who transferred or exited returned and earned a credential later that same year.
  • Not surprisingly, students who have changed home addresses from one year to the next transferred schools within the public school system at the highest rate. Nearly 28 percent of the almost 85,500 students who changed home addresses transferred schools during the period we examined.
  • Students who self-identify as living in temporary housing at some point in the school year also transferred schools at a higher-than-average rate. Over 20 percent of these 57,400 students transferred schools.
  • Over 19 percent of the nearly 24,200 students who were suspended at some point in the school year transferred schools.
  • Students who scored at the lowest level on the grades 3-8 English language arts and math tests also transferred schools at above-average rates: 12 percent of the 100,500 students who scored at the lowest level on the math test and 11 percent of 109,000 students at the lowest level on the English test.
  • Over 11 percent of the 176,600 students classified as having a disability also transferred schools.

Prepared by the Education Research Team
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education data

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Which New York City Neighborhoods Saw the Most—and Fewest—Tenants Move from Rent-Stabilized Apartments in 2010-2015?

The city’s diminishing stock of rent-stabilized apartments is highly sought after by prospective tenants because these regulated units often rent at below-market rates and offer a variety of tenant protections including the right to lease renewal. Yet information about the rate at which these apartments turn over tenancies—when the tenant changes from one year to the next—has been lacking. Vacancy rate estimates only capture the number of units empty at a specific point in time and not what became available over the course of a year.

To address this question, IBO examined tenant information for over 925,000 apartments that were rent stabilized for at least two years from 2010 through 2015 to calculate how many apartments turn over from one year to the next and how turnover rates vary by neighborhood. High turnover rates may indicate tenant mobility, changing neighborhood characteristics, or landlord efforts to vacate apartments to increase the legal rent of a rent-stabilized unit—or to reach a rent level that would enable deregulation. In contrast, low turnover rates may indicate tenant stability, or that tenants feel locked in to their rent-stabilized apartments because of their below-market rents when they otherwise may have considered moving.

Average Annual Turnover Rate of Rent-Stabilized
Apartments by Neighborhood, 2010-2015

  • Citywide, IBO found the annual turnover rate for rent-stabilized apartments averaged 12 percent over the years 2010-2015.
    There was a substantial difference citywide in turnover rates between buildings built prior to 1974 and those built later. The apartments in buildings that were built after 1974 are generally stabilized in exchange for special tax benefits and have rents that tend to be closer to their neighborhood’s market rate. These newer buildings had an average turnover rate of 20 percent citywide while older buildings, in contrast, had an average turnover rate of 11 percent.
  • Neighborhoods with some of the highest average rates of tenant turnover in rent-stabilized units were Battery Park City-Lower Manhattan (32 percent), New Dorp-Midland Beach on Staten Island (28 percent), and Douglas Manor-Douglaston-Little Neck in Queens (25 percent), although there were few rent-stabilized units in these Staten Island and Queens neighborhoods. Battery Park City-Lower Manhattan has a high share of units built in 1974 or later.
  • In neighborhoods with large numbers of pre-1974 rent-stabilized units, those with high average turnover rates include Morningside Heights (17 percent), Astoria (15 percent), and Bay Ridge (also 15 percent), located in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, respectively.
  • Neighborhoods with substantial numbers of pre-1974 rent-stabilized units and low turnover rates include West Concourse in the Bronx, Washington Heights South in Manhattan, and Flatbush in Brooklyn, all with a turnover rate of 9 percent.

SOURCES: IBO analysis of data from New York State Homes and Community Renewal and New York City Department of Finance Real Property Assessment Data
NOTES: A total of 986,807 rent-stabilized units were analyzed from 2010 through 2015, of which 925,116 had at least two years of tenant data to generate a turnover rate. These units reflect apartments that were registered with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) by their landlords, although analysis indicates that not all stabilized units that should be registered with the state actually are. Years refer to the year in which building owners registered their units with HCR. For each pair of years for which tenancies were compared, IBO determined if an apartment turned over by comparing the names of the primary tenant against the primary tenant for the following year. Names were compared using first and last name combinations to correct for spelling errors and different entry formats across year to year apartment registrations. Neighborhoods are defined by the Department of City Planning Neighborhood Tabulation Areas.

Print version available here.

Prepared by Sarah Stefanski
New York City Independent Budget Office

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