Wednesday, March 16, 2016

2015 USDA County Typologies: Herkimer County

An area's economic and social characteristics have significant effects on its development and need for various types of public programs. To provide policy-relevant information about diverse county conditions to policymakers, public officials, and researchers, the USDA Economic Research Service has developed a set of county-level typology codes that captures a range ofeconomic and social characteristics.

The 2015 County Typology Codes classify all U.S. counties according to six mutually exclusive categories of economic dependence and six overlapping categories of policy-relevant themes. The economic dependence types include farming, mining, manufacturing, Federal/State government, recreation, and nonspecialized counties. The policy-relevant types include low education, low employment, persistent poverty, persistent child poverty, population loss, and retirement destination.

What’s interesting about the typography is as much what it DOESN’T show as what it does when it comes to Herkimer County. The six economic dependence categories are defined as follows:

  • Farming County: Farming accounted for at 25% or more of the county's earnings or 16% or more of the employment averaged over 2010-2012.
  • Mining County: Mining accounted for 13% or more of the county's earnings or 8% of the employment averaged over 2010-12.
  • Manufacturing County: Manufacturing accounted for 23% or more of the county's earnings or 16% of the employment averaged over 2010-12.
  • Federal/State Government County: Federal and State government accounted for 14% or more of the county's earnings or 9% or more of the employment averaged over 2010-2012.
  • Recreation County: Recreation designations were based on three measures.
    • Percentage of wage and salary employment in entertainment and recreation, accommodations, eating and drinking places, and real estate as a percentage of all employment reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis;
    • Percentage of total personal income reported for these same categories by the Bureau of Economic Analysis; and
    • Percentage of vacant housing units intended for seasonal or occasional use reported in the 2010 Census
  • Nonspecialized County: The county was not a farming, mining, manufacturing, government-dependent, or recreation county.

Given those definitions, Herkimer County was tagged by the USDA as a “Recreation County”.


When it came to the policy-relevant typography of low education, low employment, persistent poverty, persistent child poverty, population loss, and retirement destination, none of these social characteristics met the minimum thresholds for the USDA when examining Herkimer County. That does NOT mean that these issues don’t exist or have serious consequences deserving of being addressed.

Methodologically, low-education (2008-12), low-employment (2008-12), persistent poverty (1980, 1990, 2000, 2007-11), persistent child poverty (1980, 1990, 2000, 2007-11), population loss (1990, 2000, and 2010), and retirement destination (2000 and 2010) classifications were all based on census data from the years in parentheses after their names. They were defined as follows.
  • Low Education: At least 20% or more of the residents age 25 to 64 did not have a high school diploma or equivalent between 2008-12.
  • Low Employment: Less than 65% of residents age 25-64 were employed in 2008-12
  • Persistent Poverty: A county was classified as persistent poverty if 20 percent or more of its residents were poor as measured by the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial censuses and the American Community Survey 5-year estimates for 2007-11.
  • Persistent Child Poverty: A county was classified as persistent related child poverty if 20 percent or more of related children under 18 years old were poor as measured by the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial censuses and the American Community Survey 5-year estimates for 2007-11. See the Census Bureau website
  • Population Loss: Number of residents declined between the 1990 and 2000 censuses and also between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.
  • Retirement Destination: Number of resident 60 and older grew by 15 percent or more between 2000 and 2010.

In none of these cases did the data meet the thresholds set up by the USDA, hence Herkimer County was not tagged as having a predominance of these characteristics.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Look at a Cost of Living Assessment for Herkimer County

Getting a measure of the cost of living for an area is not an easy thing to do. No official numbers exist for small localities – typically cost of living data covers large, rather diverse, areas. For Herkimer County, as an example, the cost of living data collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis is based on all of the rest of New York State, plus the New York City metro area that stretches from Connecticut to New Jersey.Using the cost of food, clothing, and shelter from those areas as part of our cost of living analysis makes local numbers very problematic.

Various services do offer different numbers based more on local data than the example listed above. Sperling’s Best Places to Live is one of these. They assess the total cost of living in an area by looking at groceries, healthcare, housing, utilities, transportation and miscellaneous costs. Each of these areas are defined as including the following:

  • Grocery  "The average cost of food in Grocery stores in an area." 
  • Health  "The average cost of health care calculated using the standard daily rate for a hospital room, and the costs of a doctor's office visit and a dental checkup."
  • Housing  "The average cost of an area's housing, which includes mortgage payments, apartment rents, and property tax."
  • Utilities  "The average cost of heating or cooling a typical residence for the area, including electricity and natural gas."
  • Transportation  "The average cost of gasoline, car insurance and maintenance expenses, and mass transit fare for the area. The cost of the vehicle and any vehicle registration and license taxes are not included."
  • Miscellaneous  "The cost index of those goods and services not included in the other cost of living categories, including clothing, restaurants, repairs, entertainment, and other services."

The total of all the cost of living categories are then weighted subjectively by Sperling’s as follows: housing (30%), food and groceries (15%), transportation (10%), utilities (6%), health care (7%), and miscellaneous expenses such as clothing, services, and entertainment (32%).  State and local taxes are not included in any category. 

For Herkimer County, the data compared to the US data subsequently looks like this:
Note that the US data equals 100 in each index. 

So although for Herkimer County five of the six categories score higher than the US indices, (US always equals a score of 100) their impact is offset by the extremely low score for housing costs as seen by Sperlings for our area. As a result, the overall cost of living for Herkimer County is lower than that for the country as a whole (93 versus 100).

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Places You'll Go: Post-Graduation Plans of County Graduates (2015)

Here is data from the County Report Cards of the NYS Education Department showing what the post-graduation plans were for graduates in 2015. Click the graphic to enlarge it.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Regional HIV and AIDS Data

The County HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports for 2013, including and excluding State Prison Inmates, are now available on the DOH public web site. The graph below shows the numbers of AIDS cases and deaths in the region from 1987 forward, as well as the number of HIV cases beginning in the year 2000 EXCLUDING prisoners. Click on it to enlarge the graph.

To get full county reports visit the link above !


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Multiple Births by Regional Residents

According to data from the NYS Department of Health, out of approximately 32,600 births in the region during the period 2002 to 2011, more than 1,200 of those births involved a "plurality" of babies - or multiple birth in more colloquial terms. The graphic below gives you an idea what that means overall.

Here's the total number of multiple births in the region from 2002-2011. Click the graph to enlarge it.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Riding the Waves and the Trails of the Region

Data from the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles shows the number of motor boats and snowmobiles that are registered in each county, as well as those that use a county's natural resources. The graphics below show the data for Herkimer and Oneida Counties. Note how Herkimer County has considerably more boats and snowmobiles using their resources than are registered in the county.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Quick Look at the State of Driving in the Region

A variety of data on drivers, vehicles and highways is available through the New York State Statistical Yearbook transportation section. Below are a few pieces I gathered which give you a taste of what can be found. Click on any of the graphics to see them enlarged.

Here's the basics on drivers and vehicles...

And on the types of vehicles registered in the two county region....

And on the percent of highway miles within varying jurisdictions...

And on the convictions for vehicle traffic convictions...

And finally on the types of injuries or damages done in vehicle accidents...