BY KATHLEEN MCGRORY
A day after the New York Jets handed the Miami Dolphins a season-ending loss on the gridiron, New York beat Florida - again.
On Monday, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that New York had narrowly held onto the title of third-most populous state in the nation.
Some demographers had predicted that rapidly growing Florida would overcome New York and slip into the third-place spot this year. But population estimates released Monday put the Empire State ahead of Florida by a mere 98,267 people.
That isn’t to say that Florida won’t eclipse New York soon -- in terms of population, anyway.
The Sunshine State (population 19.6 million) has been growing at 3.75 percent since 2010, according to the latest Census data.
New York grew 1.3 percent over the same time period.
“It’s quite clear that Florida, in terms of overall population, is going to overtake New York,” Ira Sheskin, who chairs the Department of Geography and Regional Studies the University of Miami. “It won’t take much longer.”
Experts say the disparity in growth is the result of domestic migration patterns.
Both states have received a steady stream of immigrants, said Stan Smith, of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.
“But in terms of [domestic] migration, more people leave New York than move into New York,” Smith said.
Florida, meanwhile, has long been a haven for retirees, families and New Yorkers seeking an escape from the cold weather.
One benefit of Florida's current pace of growth could be additional representation in Congress, Smith said.
“The ranking itself doesn’t mean much, other than the likely shift in congressional seats following the 2020 census,” he said.
Population changes gave Florida two additional seats in 2010. New York lost two seats that year.
Monday’s Census Bureau release included only state-level population estimates.
The largest states were California (38.3 million) and Texas (26.5 million), according to the data.
Wyoming claimed the title of least-populous state with just 582,658 people.
Just two states experienced population declines: Maine and West Virginia.