Albany metro population declines despite below-average cost of living


FILE – This April 5, 2020, photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. After a delay of more than four months caused by the pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, that data from the 2020 census used for drawing congressional and legislative districts will be released next week. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to the Census Bureau, the total U.S. population grew by 1.3% from 2017 to 2020.

The latest numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that the Capital Region is below the national average cost of living by 0.7%. Still, the Census estimates a decrease in population by 0.4% between 2017 and 2020.

Data from the Census for the Capital Region is summarized below:

  • Percentage change in population (2017–2020): -0.4%
  • Total change in population (2017–2020): -3,873
  • Population 2020: 878,550
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -0.7%

Annual geographic mobility rates from the Census show that, between 2019 and 2020, nearly 29 million Americans moved to new residences within the U.S. Almost 40% of them moved to different counties or states with lower costs of living.

Next, data from the Census for the U.S. is below:

  • Percentage change in population (2017–2020): 1.3%
  • Total change in population (2017–2020): 4,361,995
  • Population 2020: 329,484,123

The Census also shows a decline from 2012 to 2019 of Americans relocating. Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies attributes that to aging populations, high housing and moving costs, and the rise of dual-earner households.

According to a report by Roofstock, affordable U.S. metro cities are experienced dramatic growth in populations at the state level. Idaho and Nevada—both relatively low population and affordable states—grew at the highest rates from 2017 to 2020, at 6.2% and 5.6%, respectively. Idaho gained about 107,000 residents while Nevada gained just over 166,000 during the three-year period.

Over the same period, many states with above-average living costs—like Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and California—saw their populations decline or stagnate. Conservative politicians frequently claim that decreasing populations in New York are due to individual income tax rates that are among the highest in the nation, at 10.9%.

The Census Bureau data does not reflect impacts from COVID, as the latest figures are from 2019.

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