Report: People are leaving rural areas of New York


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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A report released by the Rockefeller Institute of Government found that people are leaving rural areas of New York.

The report found that over two-thirds of the state’s population lives in the downstate economic region which is where almost all of the state’s population growth has been focused.

Population Trends

The center classified the following areas into four economic regions.

Downstate New YorkAll of the New York Counties included in the New York-Jersey City-White Plains MSA. Includes all of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Dutchess County.
Upstate Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MetroSA)Regions made up of one or more counties economically interconnected. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Binghamton, Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, Elmira, Glens Falls, Ithaca, Kingston, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica-Rome, and Watertown-Fort Drum
Upstate Micropolitan Statistical Area (MicroSA)Counties with at least one city of at least 10,000 residents. They are named based on the largest city in the county. Amsterdam, Auburn, Batavia, Corning, Cortland, Gloversville, Hudson, Jamestown, Malone, Ogdensburg, Olean, Plattsburgh, Oneonta, Seneca Falls
Rural CountiesNew York Counties that are not part of a metropolitan region and do not have a city of 10,000 residents. The Census Bureau classifies them as unaffiliated. Allegany, Chenango, Delaware, Essex, Greene, Hamilton, Lewis, Schuyler, Sullivan, Wyoming

The report found that areas designated as Upstate MicroSAs and Rural Counties are losing residents at a rate of four to five times faster than upstate MetroSAs. These two areas have lost 54,600 residents or 4.3 percent of their population in eight years.

Share of Population (2018)Average Annual Population Growth (2010-2018)Share of Population in Rural Areas (2010)
Downstate NY68.1%0.23%1.9%
Upstate NY MetroSAs24.9%-0.13%24.1%
Upstate MicroSAs5.0%-0.45%57.6%
Rural Counties2.0%-0.56%76.7%

The following interactive map highlights changes to population in rural and non-rural areas across the state.

Click here to read the full report.

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