The State Senate gaveled-out its historic 2019 Legislative Session on June 21st without acting on any of the four people that Governor Cuomo had nominated for the Board of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). These were among dozens of nominees to various state boards that were left unconfirmed, but the message from the State Senate was clear: changes were needed in many of the individuals and slates of nominees submitted by the Governor. » Continue Reading.
A further examination of Adirondack Park population trends brings us to age group analysis. The two previous population articles looked at long-term trends from 1970-2010 and short-term trends from 2000-2010. U.S. Census data have shown that the population in 61 Adirondack Park Towns 100% within the Blue Line grew at a higher rate than that of New York State, though it lagged behind most other similar rural areas.
While these comparisons to state and national trends are useful, they do not tell the full story about what’s happening inside Adirondack population trends. The full story is revealed by studying the experiences of different age groups.
One way to dig deeper into the population dynamics at play in the Adirondack Park is to examine short-term population changes. The last article in this series looked long-term at total population rates where from 1970 to 2010 Adirondack communities grew at 10.6%, a rate that exceeded the 6.2% rate of New York State in these years.
In our report The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 we examined population trends in a number of ways. One of the most interesting was our analysis of short-term changes in total population of Adirondack communities from 2000 to 2010 because it revealed the points at which the area lost and gained population.
The first major population indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was changes in total population.
Population growth or loss is a key indicator for measuring community and regional vitality. From 1970 to 2010, the overall U.S. population increased by nearly 52%, from 201.2 million to over 305.6 million people. In these years, New York State experienced a modest 6.2% increase, growing from 18.2 million to 19.3 million, a rate of growth that lagged far behind national growth.
The fifth major economic indicator examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was changes in the self-employment rate. In 2010, the self-employment rate of the population 16 years and older in New York State stood at 5.6%, which was the same as the rate in the U.S. The U.S. Census tracks self-employment rates of the population that are incorporated and those that are non-incorporated. This study focused on the non-incorporated because the data was available going back to 1970.
In this report we aggregated the data of the 61 Adirondack Park Towns that are 100% within the Blue Line in order to compare Adirondack communities with other areas in the U.S. The purpose was to see if Adirondack communities stood out in any way from other places by studying trends of leading economic and population indicators from 1970 to 2010. In 2010, the 61 Park Towns had just over 100,000 residents, 77.4% of the Park’s estimated population of 130,000.
The fourth major economic indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was changes in the employment rate. In 2010, the employment rate of the population 16 years and older in New York State stood at 57.7% and in the U.S. it was 57.6%.
The U.S. Census data used does not separate full-time and part-time jobs, nor does it provide information on the quality of these jobs, benefits or health insurance, among other things. The data is for people in a given geography 16 years and older who are employed at the time of the decennial census.
The third major economic indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was changes in the poverty rate. In 2010, a family of four with an annual income of $22,050 or less was considered to be living in poverty. The poverty rate of a region is a key indicator of overall economic health.
From 1970 to 2010, the overall poverty rate rose significantly in New York State from 8.0% to 14.9%. Across the U.S., the poverty rate rose from 10.4% to 14.9%. All Americans should be alarmed about the increase in poverty rates across the country in 2010 and about the state of a country where almost one out of every six people lives in poverty.
The second major economic indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was per capita income.
An analysis of per capita income trends was useful for evaluating differences between regions, especially when analyzed with a range of other economic indicators. Per capita income is the average income earned of a person within a specific geographic area, such as a city, town or state.
When adjusted for inflation, per capita income is an important measurement, though not as good as median household income, because it can be skewed by a few individuals with extremely high incomes in low population areas.
One of the best measurements of the overall economic performance of a region is median household income of its residents. Household income is the combined gross income of all members in a household. Median household income is the median of all households in a region. A comparison of median household income is a good way to study the economic experiences of different regions.
In the new report The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 (2nd edition) we made a series of comparisons of long-term economic and population trends between Adirondack communities and other areas across New York, the U.S. and Rural America from 1970 to 2010. The U.S. Census provides median household income data as a standard field in its surveys. We only had to adjust the data for inflation.
The new study The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010, published by Protect the Adirondacks, took a deep, nuanced look at leading economic and population trends in the Adirondacks. While most of the U.S. population grows increasingly urban and connected to the digitized, global economy, Rural America is engaged in a struggle to maintain viable communities, to provide essential services and institutions, and to plan for a future with smaller populations, lower birth rates, and low-growth economies.
The Adirondack Park faces the same economic and population challenges experienced by most of Rural America. » Continue Reading.
Protect the Adirondacks has published a new report The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010. This report has been widely circulated around the Adirondacks. It was mailed to all local officials, loads of non-profits, elected reps, school districts and local libraries. It’s available online. Through the end of the year, we’ll be undertaking a number of public presentations on the report and we’ll be publicizing those as they are organized.
The report is long, complicated, and not easily distilled to talking points. I’ll be writing a series of essays this spring and summer for the Adirondack Almanack that take a deep dive into the major findings. This article is the first and it provides an introduction and overview. » Continue Reading.
As winter shows sure signs of releasing its grip on the Adirondacks, a new hiking season in the High Peaks Wilderness is coming into view. The allure of the High Peaks is immense for hikers, which is understandable.
There is simply no other place anywhere east of the Mississippi River that provides the experience like that found on the summit of an interior High Peak surrounded by dozens of others. The views from Gothics or Colvin or Colden or Haystack mountains, or any number of other High Peaks, are simply stunning.
It’s no wonder the High Peaks Wilderness is in the midst of a major boom in the number of hikers, which has stressed the region’s management. » Continue Reading.
In 2018, state agencies combined the Dix Mountain and High Peaks Wilderness areas into one grand 275,000-acre Wilderness area, which is now celebrated as the 3rd largest Wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, behind the Florida Everglades and the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. This action certainly merits heralding as a major accomplishment in the history of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.
It shines a spotlight on the High Peaks Wilderness as a world-class landscape and it begs the questions of how and when will state agencies start to put together a world-class management system that the High Peaks Wilderness deserves. » Continue Reading.
It’s not every day that one gets to see a well-worn aphorism ring true. The philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In the Adirondacks this is now playing out at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area.
The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) manages this area for a variety of winter Olympic sports – cross-country skiing, biathlon, bobsled, and luge, among others. It’s also a popular cross-country ski area for the public, and starting in 2018 it became the staging area for a new trail to Cascade Mountain, where the public can start hiking in a safe parking area. The facility is located partly on land owned by the Town of North Elba Park District and partly on the State Forest Preserve. The Forest Preserve lands are protected as forever wild by Article XIV of the State Constitution. » Continue Reading.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recently released draft budget for 2019-2020 is disappointing because it misses some major priorities for the Adirondack environment and communities.
Major issues across the Adirondacks, such as increased funding for the High Peaks Wilderness to build a sustainable trail network, more Forest Rangers, or a larger Environmental Protection Fund to meet major challenges of climate change, were all ignored in this budget. » Continue Reading.