Tuesday, June 5, 2018

National Changes Across Rural America Shape the Adirondacks

misleading county election mapOne of the most striking maps coming out of the 2016 Presidential election is the red-blue county map. Despite Clinton winning the popular vote by 3 million, the county map shows a sea of red across the U.S. as Trump won 2,632 counties and the country is flecked with blue dots in the interior and on the coasts where Hillary Clinton won 489 counties. In our part of New York, Trump swept everything north of the Mohawk River with the lone exception of Clinton County. He won Lewis, Hamilton, Fulton, and Herkimer counties by wide margins. Having poured over maps of Rural and Urban America in the last few years, the interesting thing to me is that the 2016 Trump victory map tracks closely to the rural-urban divide in the U.S.

There’s lots of debate about what drove Trump’s victory. Was it fueled by Americans who voted to express their opposition to the new global economy that had passed them by? Was it fueled by Americans who voted to express their opposition to losing status in a more gender egalitarian and racially diverse America? Was it a backlash from two terms of the first black President? Was it driven by America’s insatiable appetite for change and something new? Or, did Trump hit the chords that resonated with the older white populations that dominate Rural America?

Recent headlines about Rural America in the last few years highlight two trends: 1) Rural America as a whole is losing population for the first time in American history, even as the rest of the country grows. 2) The American economy has fundamentally shifted and rural areas have not recovered employment levels they had in 2009, before the Great Recession, while urban areas have seen major job growth since then.

The population data is stark. The ten most populous counties in the U.S. alone added a total of 9.3 million new residents. This mimics the trends we’ve seen in New York State where Upstate New York lost over 50,000 people since 2010, while downstate counties in and around New York City gained nearly a half million.

Since 2010, the highest number of counties ever is estimated to have experienced population decline – 1,661. Roughly two-thirds of the 3,100 or so counties in the U.S. are counted as mostly rural. In these years, 1,351 rural counties lost population of over 800,000 people.

Today, 62.7% of Americans live on 3.5% of the American landscape. As a country steeped in rural and frontier mythology we’ve never seen such a heavy concentration of Americans in so small an area of the country. Across the U.S., 72% of the landscape is classified as “rural,” yet in 2016 just 46 million people live in Rural America, just 14.2%, out of a total population estimated to be 323 million people. There’s also a disparity in rural areas as the most thinly populated rural areas, such as those like the central Adirondacks with around 2 people per square mile, are seeing the starkest population declines. 42% of the U.S. has a Hamilton County-like population density, yet is home to just 2% of the U.S. population.

Several factors are driving population decline in Rural America. These include long-term outmigration of young adults, mostly college-age young people who leave to pursue a college degree and do not return in large numbers. This sustained loss of young people has skewed the demographics towards an aging population. The aging population is experiencing decline due to natural mortality, which is one trend we can’t reverse. Robert Wuthnow, a noted sociologist who studies Rural America, found that “During the last decade of the 20th century alone, more than 7,000 of the nation’s 18,000 schools in small towns closed.”

Another factor is that Americans are not reproducing at high rates. While the birth rate has long been stagnant or negative in major urban centers and wealthy suburbs across the U.S., we’re now seeing the birth rates drop in rural areas. The birth rate in many parts of Rural America, which used to be significantly higher than urban areas, is declining and falling in line with the rest of the country, though there remains strong regional variation. For instance, the birth rate in rural areas in the Northeast U.S. is much lower than that in rural areas in the South. In general, around the world, declining birth rates are tied to a rise in economic prosperity and education of women.

There are some bright spots. There were 487 rural counties “with positive but below-average growth (less than the U.S. population growth rate of 5 percent),” which combined together added 281,000 people since 2010. Many are located in rural parts of the Mountain West, southern Appalachia, and other scenic areas. Though these counties showed positive population growth, the rate had slowed. Counties characterized as having “recreation-based economies” grew by 4.6% during 2002-08, but only by 1.2% during 2010-16. This group of counties may hold lessons and strategies useful to the Adirondacks. The one wrinkle is that rural areas that are growing are largely out west, fueled by resort areas and fracking. The dominant trend of rural areas east of the Mississippi River is population loss, which is almost uniform throughout the counties of the mid-Atlantic, northeast U.S., and upstate New York.

Employment is also shifting. Economists can argue about whether jobs follow people or people follow jobs, but the reality of American life in the first decades of the 21st century is that employment is concentrating and growing in urban areas and stagnating in rural areas. Rural employment has not bounced back to pre-recession levels. Rural counties had 750,000 fewer jobs in 2017 than they did in 2008, a drop of 3.5 percent over the nine-year period. Meanwhile urban areas saw a growth of 10% in these years and not only recovered all lost jobs, but added 7.8 million new jobs.

Rural areas also see exacerbations of national trends. The gender pay gap is higher in rural areas than urban areas. A Center for American Progress report found “While the wage gap for women overall stands at 80 cents for every dollar earned by men,” that gap “grows even larger when rural women are compared to men overall: Rural women who are full-time, year-round workers earn a mere 64 cents for every dollar earned by men overall. Even when looking solely at rural workers — who earn less than nonrural workers, regardless of gender — the gender wage gap is larger than that of the overall population, with rural women who are full-time, year-round workers earning just 76 cents for every dollar earned by rural men.” While racial diversity is low in the Adirondacks and northern New York, it should be pointed out that in rural areas with higher racial diversity, there’s also a significant disparity in wages of white people and people of color.

The Adirondack Park has not escaped the long-term trends of the last few decades that are reshaping, and in many ways redefining, rural and urban America. Rural America is seeing slow population loss and a stagnant economy, whereas urban areas are seeing population and economic gains. That said there remains disturbingly high numbers of people in urban areas who live in poverty and income inequality is vast.

In some ways, in the Adirondacks we have more than held our own against these national forces. We have some communities that are growing in Warren County, the Tri-Lakes, and within commuting distances to small cities that ring the Park. We also have communities in the Park’s interior that are shrinking in population. The retrenchment of population and employment to urban centers in the U.S. creates serious long-term challenges for the Adirondacks and other rural areas. Living in the Adirondacks remains a choice, whether one grew up here and chose to stay, or chose to move here. These choices are driven by economics as well as lifestyle, with each weighted according to individual preferences.

Across the Adirondacks in the decades ahead we may be at the beginning of a sustained period of mild population losses, felt more acutely in small interior towns, whereas the larger Park towns may continue to incrementally gain population. This will mimic what’s happening across upstate New York, where cities are actually growing, like Buffalo, Syracuse, and Ithaca, while most counties are losing population. As a scenic area surrounded by major metropolitan areas in the northeast U.S., the Adirondacks will also see some benefits from sustained high rates or tourism and second (or third or fourth) home development. The key challenge for Park leaders is to develop strategies and guide investments that will help the Adirondacks escape the worst impacts of the historic national economic and population retrenchment toward urban areas that is currently underway.

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Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks. He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He was the co-founder of the Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP) in 1998, which has collected long-term water quality data on more than 75 Adirondack lakes and ponds. He has testified before the State Legislature, successfully advocated to pass legislation and budget items, authored numerous articles, op-eds, and reports such as "20% in 2023: An Assessment of the New York State 30 by 30 Act" (2023), "The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010" (2019), "The Myth of Quiet, Motor-free Waters in the Adirondack Park" (2013), and "Rutted and Ruined: ATV Damage on the Adirondack Forest Preserve" (2003) and "Growth in the Adirondack Park: Analysis of Rates and Patterns of Development" (2001). He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife, has two grown children out in the world, and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Threads.

59 Responses

  1. Rob Gdyk says:

    You WAY overthought this one Pete. It’s real elementary to tell the red spots on the map by simply looking at the most heavily feral fuxated, crime-ridden, fentanyl addicted, ghetto welfare populated areas of the country indebted to Hillary for the gibsmedat.

  2. adirondackjoe says:

    Peter it’s quite simple. Secretary Clinton ran the worst presidential campaign in history. I don’t care whether your a Democrat or Republican, who you voted for or why, that is a fact.

    • Scott says:

      Tip of the ice berg.

    • Paul says:

      This is what David Axelrod (Obama’s chief strategist) was saying yesterday in an interview. Clinton ran a terrible campaign, finally admitting what everybody already knows.

      What you heard from many non-partisan types (there are a few left) after the election was “The good news is that Hillary Clinton lost the election, the bad news is that Trump won”

      What is wrong with parts of Utah and Washington state? I tried to open the map in a new window but it takes me to the Wild Center’s website?

  3. bill mckibben says:

    This is a really useful report, many thanks for taking the time to do it. I had the general sense, but not the numbers or the deeper analysis.

    • Mick Finn says:

      Hey Bill, how is that Finch acquisition you so fervently supported working out? No one uses it and the business are drying up. Look a little more towards the future next time. Some rich folks got richer thanks to your support and a lot of suffering was left in the wake.

      • Boreas says:

        “No one uses it and the business are drying up.”

        Mick Finn,

        Many people are using it, including existing leaseholders through 2018. It is going to take a decade or two to determine the effects of the F-P purchase – just as it took decades for F-P to help develop the areas in question. Until the UMPs are finalized and communities can plan and begin development, it is too early to hand down a verdict. Wouldn’t you agree?

        • Paul says:

          We have over a decade of data (almost 2 decades now) for several other easement purchase deals where clubs were kicked out. The new users were supposed to pour in and have a positive economic impact. We have basically seen the opposite. In a desperate attempt to reverse course they did a new easement deal on the easements that were part of the Champion acquisition that tried to save the camps/clubs. It was too late and only a shell of what was there before remains. Those are elements so you can argue it is different. But it included miles and miles of beautiful river corridors that became state land. Basically nobody goes. I don’t think the DEC even bothers counting anymore. As far as the FP purchase for now what we do know (as Tony Goodwin indicated in his comment) use is pretty slim? Will people start coming later? I guess maybe but why? I don’t think people are all that interested. You have the falls, its cool, people want to check that out. Otherwise it really doesn’t have much to offer that people want. Camping is very limited, no campfires, no mountains to climb, not that much pond to explore. Will Boreas ponds be different. Maybe a new route to one not-so-popular peak, with probably difficult paddling access to a very scenic pond. Maybe, but I am not terribly optimistic. Is it preserved better from an environmental perspective than before with us taxpayers picking up the tab and the tax base frozen. I guess so.

          • Boreas says:


            I have learned never to try to foretell the future, but I agree with a lot of what you say. But many here continue to vilify the state for ruining communities that have been in decline for a long time. The forest product industry isn’t what it used to be for a multitude of reasons, including foreign import/export changes. No one put a gun to the head of F-P and other forestry concerns forcing them to sell and withdraw. They sold based on sound business decisions. Just because F-P was a benign overlord for nearly a century doesn’t mean they would continue to do so for another century. Markets change and business decisions are made based on those changes. F-P simply chose to sell to NYS via TNC to give them first dibs on the property, and not F-P competitors – many of which are not based in this country.

            So I think we all need to take a step back, look at the new maps and new owners and pursue the best possible future for localities AND taxpayers and forget about times gone by.

            • Paul says:

              I agree. If there are effects I do not blame them on the private landowners who are free to do whatever they want with their land. I do think the state should refrain from making promises to local towns that they are unlikely able to keep. Times gone by is where we get information to help us make decisions moving forward. Ignore history and you are liable to report it! My prediction here is that we will see the same disappointing economic results with FP as we saw with the easement/outright purchase cases. Hope I’m wrong.

        • Paul says:

          Like you say the lease holder use, and their economic impact on the area goes away next year.

          • Boreas says:


            No one will be barring lease-holders from the area. Yes, supposedly their camps will be torn down or relocated and lease payments to F-P (or TNC – whoever the checks are made out to) will end, but they can still use the resource like any other person and are free to use campgrounds in and out of the property, as well as building new camps or businesses on private land in the area. I have rented enough to know that no lease is good forever.

            • Paul says:

              True. But these clubs are not interested in something different than they have had for decades. They are gone, that is just how it is. Same as what we have see where other clubs have been booted. They are mostly lower and middle income folks that have had a unique opportunity to lease a chunk of land that is normally only something for rich folks (a membership was about 250 bucks). So that is all over, so be it. A few can afford a camp nearby on private land like you suggest. In the club I was in that got the boot we had 43 members. There were 4 of us with enough $ to do something like that. Or at least who did it. Not even close to the same culture we had at the club. It’s just all gone. So is life.

            • Paul says:

              On your last sentence, absolutely. These timber companies are not about taking care of people who need a lease. They are concerned with their shareholders not the little guys. That is how it goes.

              • Boreas says:

                I don’t know if they still do it, but in some national and state forests in PA, camps used to be leased at ~10-20 year intervals, I believe. These were old, small, grandfathered camps built before WWII. I think the way it worked was leaseholders were allowed to maintain, but not improve or rebuild the structures. They also did not have exclusive hunting or fishing rights, but they could post their small lot. I haven’t been down that way in a long time, but I believe they are still being used.

                Even if NYS allowed something like this on grandfathered structures, leaseholders would then need to worry more about vandalism, theft, and arson. Another question is, in another generation, how many people will still be using camps for hunting/fishing? Smart phones and electronics aren’t of much use in many areas…

                • Paul says:

                  Sounds like the “state” camps that we had on Lower Saranac Lake. The state threw out the leaseholders and burned the camps down one winter in the 70s.

                  It is a bit like the yurt idea for Boreas. But nightly rather than yearly, not a bad idea!

                  On some easement parcels they do lease “camps” (1 acre parcels) but it is not a very popular option. Nothing like the clubs had and in some cases more expensive for the leaseholders. These are mostly people of pretty modest means, not the evil rich barons they are portrayed as here in some comments.

                  • Hope says:

                    The hunting and fishing camps were not just camps but a community of like minded outdoor enthusiasts. They are a social construct many of several generations of families and friends. As leased land becomes public these camps typically end and members either end their association with the area or join other camps on leased property or private property near state land. In any event the original camp legacy and community fades away and the only remnants left are the stories. The leased land sportsman camp were an affordable way for the common man to enjoy private access typically only available to the wealthy. It’s unfortunate that many feel they all should be eradicated in favor of “public access”.

                    • Boreas says:


                      It is the structures that cause the issues with APA/DEC, because now they own them – and any problems that come with them such as maintenance and liability, etc.. I wonder what TNC would have done with them if NYS reneged on the purchase. Would they have continued to honor the leases or followed a similar path? Another question to ask is, if NYS allowed them to stay and lease, would they have any exclusive hunting/fishing rights or would leaseholders be using the same areas as non-leaseholders? It can get pretty complicated.

                    • Mick Finn says:

                      …”I wonder what TNC would have done with them if NYS reneged on the purchase”….

                      Boreas, TNC had a 10 year contract to supply FP with logs from the land, and they logged the hell out of it and met the contract in less than 2 years.

                      If the State had reneged, TNC would have probably had to refund millions of dollars to wealthy donors who purchased charitable trusts.

                      Or, they would have encumbered the deeds and sold to Lyme Timber company who would have kept the clubs, opened the land for limited shared public use, and kept on logging to supply FP.

                      This is my guess and nothing else.

                      Look up charitable trusts and see how they work. The taxpayers were really taken for a ride on this one. Spitzer and Cuomo should probably be indicted on fraud charges (Paterson stalled the deal because he knew it was bad).

  4. J. Meyer says:

    Thank you, Peter. This was a thoughtful article with several points to consider. With the exception of Bill, you missed the point gentlemen. This isn’t about Hillary losing. This is about where do the Adirondacks and go from here? What lessons can we learn from the rural areas out West and in the South and what will work for the Adirondacks? I hope the Legislature and the Governor is listening.

    • AG says:

      Rural areas in the West and South are losing population too… Just not as fast because they are not as cold. For the most part – in all rural areas – you have to be in high commodity farming – or tourism… The world is not going backwards. Urban areas use scarce resources more efficiently per capita.

  5. Ernest Williams says:

    Agreed. This is a nice overview of significant trends that have an effect far beyond the last presidential election.

  6. Richard Rosen says:

    A fine, concise and very relevant piece of analysis.

  7. John M says:

    And many voters were sick of professional full time polititions who don’t, comprehend the plight of the struggling working class, like most Adirondacker working 2 -3 jobs just to get by, and wore looking for some sort of change. Now that said, a super wealthy person like D.J. Trump was an odd choice, but then no other choice was available. Remember that he not only beat the Dems he also destroyed the Repubs in the primary’s. The People we’re sending all the polititions a message, which they have not comprehend.

  8. Naj Wikoff says:

    The map shows that any party that ignores rural, less populated regions does so at their peril as they have way more potential Congressional and Gubernatorial votes. Used to be that the Democrats cared about “blue collar” working people; they haven’t demonstrated that as late and the outcome of the last election demonstrated the results. However, the Republican Party really hasn’t help rural people, certainly not over the past 10 years. They made a lot of promises two years ago but the outcomes have many benefited the super rich and lobbyists. Here people are starting to come together on a grass roots level through initiatives like Common Ground, an initiative that has great potential.

  9. Boreas says:

    Interesting article. The one thing that is inevitable is change. How will gerrymandering keep up??

    What we need to ask ourselves is if the current Electoral College system will unify or further divide the country in the future. The victor(s) with the power to change it, are always happy with the results.

  10. Dave says:

    And the map attached to this article is exactly why we don’t need to get rid of the electoral college. I don’t need the coast line Blue states deciding national politics for the other 95% of the country!

    • Boreas says:

      Citizens vote, not land. Should 1000 people in one county carry the same weight as 2 million in another? One citizen, one vote. Seems simple to me. What could be more fair?

      • wbb says:

        “Citizens vote, not land.”

        We are a republic, not a direct democracy and the Constitution lays out how national elections are decided.

        Article I section 3 is an example where that is not exactly true. “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State,”

        This was to insure the larger populous state did not impose the “Tyranny of the Majority” upon the more rural states.

        The same concept is found in Article II section 2 “: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”

        The States not the “people” are tasked to elect the President. Secretary Clinton was aware of this and conducted her campaign accordingly.

        • Dave says:

          So 8 million people voting in NY City for a democrap should out weight the millions in the middle of the country voting for a Republican. That’s why NY has so many problems. The Majority of people above NYC are Republicans but we CANNOT outweigh the liberal democraps from NYC in any voting consequence. That’s like saying 8 million NYC folks should carry the day when voting on ADK issues, regardless of what the actual people living upstate in the ADK have to say

          • Boreas says:

            So those 8 million people should be simply ignored? Don’t they pay taxes too?

            NYS has had plenty of Republican governors and NYC has had plenty of Republican mayors despite NYC being blue. Even with Republican administrations, upstate doesn’t carry much weight. Could it simply be because we don’t add as much to the state economy compared with metropolitan areas? I don’t believe it comes down to red vs. blue.

          • George says:

            8 million people do not vote in NYC. Voter turnout in NYC is very low. Republicans can outweigh the liberals, but they have to get off their duffs and vote. In the last election for governor, less total votes were cast than there are gun owners in the state. If we are unhappy with Cuomo, we have only ourselves to blame.

            • Paul says:

              Good point. Rural upstate NY cameo together one year and defeated an environmental bond act boondoggle as you might recall. Lots of upstate democrats strongly supported that. But back then there wasn’t much difference between an upstate democrat or republican. Now people are just caught by buzz words. “Environmental” – must be good must vote for this. “Affordable” – must be good must vote for that. “Safe” – must be good must vote for that.

          • AG says:

            Dave – the people in NYC per person pay more taxes to both the state and the federal government than you do… “taxation without proportionate representation”.

          • Suzanne says:

            May I respectfully suggest that referring to part of the voting population as “democraps” is somewhat beyond the pale of civil discourse? It should be possible to disagree with one’s fellow citizens without resorting to derogatory name-calling.

            • Boreas says:

              “It should be possible to disagree with one’s fellow citizens without resorting to derogatory name-calling.”

              You would think, but it is fairly common around here. Anonymity can produce lot of bile.

  11. JimP says:

    i wonder whether some creeping ‘buyer’s remorse’ could trigger the electoral “chameleon”” to begin changing it’s shading. Mid-term map could end up being easily as fascinating as the 2016 map.

  12. Mick Finn says:

    Here’s some observations from my history and travels: In cities, you see a lot of Democrat advertisement through buttons, stickers, etc. and the establishments seem to be left-leaning. Come gaps are obvious and crime rates are high. Then you drive outward through suburbia, and you see a mix of conservative and liberal messages, yard signs, and policies. As you keep diving towards the countryside, and as soon as you hit the first hay field or pasture, and I mean the first, all the signs are conservative. Then you get into rural towns, where there’s welfare, disability, high unemployment because the large manufacturers left, and of course, opioid addiction, probably a result of despair.

    I used to make drives like this regularly for my business, and when NAFTA hit, one large business after another closed and shuttered their doors. 1500 employees laid off here, 900 there, 800 somewhere else, and all the business that supported those business including packaging companies, box makers, freight companies, etc. They closed too. The economy we used to have, where there was income parity and relative prosperity disappeared. The liberal policies hit home and decimated America, all in the name of supporting a “global economy” I can tell you I saw DOZENS of large manufacturers that were hit hard and saw tens of thousands of worked become unemployed over a 30 year field sales career.

    You tell me: Do we need to make America great again? I think we do.

    • Boreas says:

      It could also be argued that when “America was great”, unions ruled and higher wages, benefits, and taxes were the norm. High wages have a great deal to do with keeping economies healthy. Taxes have a great deal to do with building and maintaining strong and innovative infrastructure. When Reagan made unions and taxes endangered species and “great” American industries decided they could make more money by exploiting cheap labor overseas, the tide turned. NAFTA was just another piece of the trend, but not the only cause. There is no argument from me that we are in decline. But by polarizing the country between red and blue tribes, nothing will get done. First we need to elect government officials that will lead and speak to each other and not just puff up their base to remain in power.

      • Paul says:

        “But by polarizing the country between red and blue tribes, nothing will get done.”

        I agree. President Obama says in the new memoir that this is what happened under his watch.

        “In a review Thursday by the New York Times, Obama struggled to grapple with Mr. Trump’s win. “What if we were wrong,” he reportedly asked aides following the election. He added, questioning the Democratic party’s strategy, “Maybe we pushed too far, maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.”

      • AG says:

        Yes but those unions and higher wages happened because of WW2… The majority of the world was in disarray and needed to be rebuilt. There was no competition for a long while.

        • Boreas says:

          Unions and higher wages in the US started well before WWII. The world being in disarray during and after WWII certainly contributed to our economy. Much of Europe continued with organized labor after the war, as did we. Did there need to be a correction with wages and benefits as cheap labor became available? Yes. Did it happen? Not in the US. Did US companies NEED to shut down and relocate to take advantage of cheap labor to stay in business? There lies the question. As corporations become larger, shareholders demand higher profits, and really do not care where they are located nor do they care about their workers – just the bottom line. It is Capitalism. Much of Europe still functions with unions.

          It is my contention that organized labor and reasonable corporations TOGETHER help maintain a strong middle class and tax base.. Quite the opposite for the changes in the US economy over the last 2 generations.

          • AG says:

            My point is prior to WW2 the US was NOT dominant. Check the world GDP figures. And you are correct Europe has stronger unions… Apart from Germany – Western Europe’s growth is just like the US… It’s not strong. The world is changing and re-balancing.

            • Boreas says:

              Oh, absolutely. During the depression it was hard to tell WHO was dominant, if anyone. But I don’t believe the pre-war years are what people are referencing as America being “great”. Usually they are talking 50s & 60s. They also don’t really specify if they are talking about our way of life or simply our power with respect to the rest of the world – even though we were living in constant fear of being nuked!

              • AG says:

                Yes – the 50′ and 60’s is the time frame… It was during that time when the rest of the world was trying to rebuild from the destructive World Wars 1 and 2. During the 40’s – 60’s the US share of world GDP was close to 50 percent at one point. No country had such a large share since China in the early 1800’s. The 21st century is extremely competitive. No one fully knows how robots will change the landscape either. Unions will have even LESS power though.

  13. Richard says:

    When I started as a Land Use Planner at APA in the 1980’s, I did a simple regression analysis of population gain and loss for each of the over 100 towns in the Park, over several decades of census data. The only factor (of those I looked at) that correlated with population gain was distance from one of the small cities just outside the Blue Line (Glen’s Falls, Plattsburgh and Watertown). Lake Placid/North Elba, if memory serves, was an outlier, for obvious reasons. The Adk. Park social and economic condition is very much integrated with the larger North Country region, but rarely do State-level policies reflect that reality.

  14. Big Burly says:

    Thx Peter. Useful food for thought and planning

  15. Andy says:

    Excellent and informative write-up. Thank you!

  16. Charlie S says:

    Mick Finn says: “You tell me: Do we need to make America great again? I think we do.”

    Great for who Mick? For what?

  17. Charlie S says:

    Good answer Mick! And I would like to add….for all living things on earth.

  18. Glenn L. Pearsall says:

    Peter, like Donald Trump on the opposite side of the political spectrum, tends to be a bit of a “bomb thrower”. That said, this is one of his more lucid and interesting columns.

  19. Todd Eastman says:

    People are voting for their perceived identity over their needs…

    … this is simple tribalism, it does not allow thought or analysis.

    The marketers win in this situation.

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