Student enrollment in public schools is falling in every county in New York outside of New York City, except for one. School enrollments in 57 of New York’s 63 counties from Suffolk to Erie, Orange to Oswego, experienced declines in school enrollments in the last decade, from 2011 to 2019.
The only county outside of New York City to experience student enrollment growth was Saratoga County.
The 2018 population estimates by U.S. Census are out, which look at changes since 2010. The Census reports that New York’s population in these years is estimated to have grown by around 142,000 people. However, this growth has not been uniform throughout state.
The ten counties of Downstate New York (the three lower Hudson Valley counties of Orange, Rockland and Westchester; the two Long Island counties of Suffolk and Nassau; and the five New York City counties of Richmond, Bronx, New York, Kings and Queens) saw a collective gain of over 250,000 people. All Downstate counties posted gains, with the exception of Suffolk on outer Long Island, which was down by over 13,000 people.
One way to understand Adirondack population trends is to look at the major changes in the experiences of different age groups. In this article we look at the experiences of the Late Baby Boomers, those born between 1956-1965, and the Generation Xers, those born 1966-1975.
Across Rural America these age groups saw major population losses by 2010, even as the U.S. population grew due to immigration from abroad.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
What’s growing? Where should we invest? The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and regional partners set out to answer these and other questions facing North Country communities by completing an economic analysis of the entire 14-county Adirondack North Country region.
One refrain I have heard from Adirondack leaders through the years is that declining school enrollments across the Adirondacks, with particular emphasis on the closures of the Piseco School and Lake Clear School, show the overall decline of the Adirondacks as a viable social and economic region. Blaming environmental policies immediately follows these statements. I have always argued back that there are many factors that affect school enrollment levels and that the changes afoot in the Adirondacks are far less severe than the changes that are transforming vast portions of Rural America. » Continue Reading.
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