Friday, August 30, 2013

Sub-County Profiles Now Available From Cornell PAD

Previously I have posted about Cornell's Program on Applied Demographics (PAD) County Profiles. These profiles provide a rather in-depth look at each county in New York, covering wide ranging topics from age and sex of the population, to the languages spoken at home, poverty levels, education, agricultural characteristics, and local climate.  Each county profile contains data, as well as thematic maps to help in understanding some of the nuances of the information.

PAD has now released similar profiles on the sub-county level - meaning similar types of data and written profiles are now out there on the town and city levels across the state. All you have to do is go to the PAD Profile page and select the Sub-County tab as shown below. Then simply click on a county to get the sub-county profiles.

For ease of access you can see the Oneida County Sub Profiles by clicking this link, and the Herkimer County Sub Profiles by following this one.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

ACS Community Profile: Town of Vernon

The American Communities Survey (ACS) provides snap shots of municipalities each and every year. For many of our communities, this represents the only source of data for things such as education, poverty, and transportation issues. As part of an effort to bring this data to the public's eye, I like to occasionally post the profiles for some of our smaller towns and villages.

Below are links to the demographic, social, economic and housing profiles for the Town of Vernon, NY, which can be found through the ACS. To learn more about this prominent town in Oneida County, visit the New York Genweb site and look at the history of the town.

In the meantime, here are links to the ACS profile data for the Town of Vernon!

2011 ACS Five Year Estimate Town of Vernon Demographics

2011 ACS Five Year Estimate Town of Vernon Social Data

2011 ACS Five Year Estimate Town of Vernon Economic Data

2011 ACS Five Year Estimate Town of Vernon Housing Data

ADDITIONAL NOTE: to see how the Town compares to the County, check the County 5 Year Estimates link found just below the center of this page's banner !

The New Yuppies? Millennials Returning to Urban Life

A recent article on was written about the inflow of millennials to more urban settings. The article claims this is for a variety of reasons.

For example, they posit that two-thirds of this cohort believes it is important to live in walkable neighborhoods. They also cite a Washington post article which pointed out that the nation’s "Driving Boom", which lasted six decades, is over — largely because Millennials are driving less. “Between 2001 and 2009, the average yearly number of miles driven by 16- to 34-year-olds dropped a staggering 23 percent,” wrote Brad Plumer in The Washington Post. Rising costs of driving, barriers to teenagers getting licenses, technology that makes car-free living easier, and preference toward urban living are reasons for the trend, the article explained.

Whether or not that is true nationally, it doesn't seem to be the case for us regionally. Generally speaking, our cities and villages have been losing population while our towns have grown. This isn't an absolute, but it does seem to be generally true.

Below are the populations for each twon and county in the region from 1980 to 2010. Very few show increasing populations since the Census 2000. On the other hand, the City of Utica, our largest regional urban municipality, does show and increase of more than 2% ! So maybe the jury is still out on this issue ! We'll see in 2020 !
Click to Enlarge OC Data
Click to Enlarge HC Data

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Process to be in Place for New York State STAR Tax Exemption

The New York State School Tax Relief Program (more commonly known as the STAR Program), or New York State Real Property Tax Law §425, is a school tax rebate program offered in New York State aimed at reducing school district property taxes on the primary residences of New York residents. There are basically two types of STAR exemptions:

The Basic STAR program is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the resident owners' and their spouses income is less than $500,000 and exempts the first $30,000 of the full value of a home from school taxes

The Enhanced STAR program provides an increased benefit for the primary residences of senior citizens (age 65 and older) with qualifying incomes and exempts the first $63,300 of the full value of a home from school taxes as of 2013-14 school tax bills (up from $62,200 in 2012-13). It is important to note that STAR exemptions apply only to school district taxes.

New legislation now requires all homeowners receiving a Basic STAR exemption to register with the New York State Tax Department in order to receive the exemption in 2014 and subsequent years.

Homeowners will not have to register in order to receive their 2013 STAR exemptions. Homeowners also will not have to re-register every year. Based on the information provided in the registration process, the Tax Department will monitor homeowners' eligibility in future years.

You can register for the STAR exemption online. You'll need to:
  • provide a STAR code (they're mailing codes to all Basic STAR recipients; or you can use the STAR code lookup)
  • provide the names and social security numbers for all owners of the property and spouses
  • confirm that the property is the primary residence of one of its owners (married couples with multiple residences may only claim one STAR exemption)
  • confirm that the combined income of the owners and their spouses who reside at the property does not exceed $500,000; and
  • confirm that no resident owner received a residency-based tax benefit from another state.
Data on the percent of property valuation exemptions for counties in New York State can be found at the  New York State Statistical Yearbook put out by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. For example, the table below shows the equalized exempt value of exempted properties by county in New York. This includes a break out of wholly exempt as well as partially exempt properties.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How America Pays For College (2013)

A national study by Sallie Mae, How America Pays for College 2013, conducted by Ipsos, is a compelling look at how today's families view higher education, manage higher education costs, and tap a variety of funding sources. This year's study finds that families are adjusting to a new post-recession reality to pay for college.

 Among their main findings:
  • Higher scholarships and grants. "Free money" now pays for 30% of college costs, up from 25% four years ago.
  • Reduced parent contributions. Parents now fund from income and savings 27% of college expenses, down from 2010’s peak funding of 36%.
  • Unwavering belief in the value of college. 85% of parents strongly agreed that college was an investment in their child’s future, the highest in the last five years.
  • New cost-consciousness. A higher number of families factor college costs into the choice of school.
How America Pays for College 2013 offers important, informative insights into how families are managing to fund higher education in the current economic landscape. To view an infographic that captures a lot of the data and provides you some perspective on how the costs of college are being handled differently these days than in the past, visit this Sallie Mae site.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Inflation Adjusted Wages: 1975 through 2010

According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute real hourly wage (which is adjusted for inflation) for the median American worker hasn't risen at all since 2000. In fact, since 2007, every group besides those with an advanced degree — who made up just 11.4 percent of the population in 2012 — saw their hourly compensation decline.

The study goes into considerable detail on various segments of the workforce (e.g. those with advanced degrees, etc.) that I can't replicate historically anyway. However, in exploring the New York State Department of Labor there are data on historical wages for each county in the state. That coupled with the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator does allow me to look at wage data from 1975 through the year 2010, and adjust prior years to 2010 dollars.

So based on that, here is a graphical look at what wages appear to have done historically in our region between the mid-1970s and the year 2010, adjusted for inflation.

Click to Enlarge

Friday, August 23, 2013

Median Household Income Changes During and After the Great Recession

According to, the average American household is earning less than when the Great Recession ended four years ago. According to a report released Wednesday by Sentier Research,  U.S. median household income, once adjusted for inflation, has fallen 4.4 percent in that time. The report is based on an analysis of Census Bureau data.

The median, or midpoint, income in June 2013 was $52,098. That's down from $54,478 in June 2009, when the recession officially ended. And it's below the $55,480 that the median household took in when the recession began in December 2007. The report says nearly every group is worse off than four years ago, except for those 65 to 74. Some groups have experienced larger-than-average declines, including blacks, young and upper-middle-aged people and the unemployed.

Our local data is a bit harder to decipher. For one thing, when you are working with smaller populations, such as the population of a county, the data may not be available for individual years. In addition, with smaller data sets come larger variability typically, which potentially means larger margins of error. that being said, view the data below with a bit of caution.

What I have been able to cobble together is a a comparative of the three year American Community Survey estimates for the Herkimer-Oneida County region as a whole for the periods of 2006-2008, and 2009-2011. This allows us to at least get a glimpse of how out median household income data has changed over the short run during, and immediately after, the Great Recession. As more ACS data becomes available this fall from the Census Bureau, perhaps this will give us more insight.

At any rate, the table below provides you with three things: the 2010 (as the mid-year of the three year period 2009-2011) median household income data; the 2007 (as the mid-year of the 2006-2008 period) median household data; and a column indicating if they 2010 numbers are statistically higher, lower or no different than the 2008 data.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

The Cost of Raising A Child According to the USDA

According to the NY State Vital Statistics for 2011 (the most recent year for which data is available), more than 3,300 babies were born to moms in the combined Herkimer and Oneida Counties region. The cost of raising a child extends well beyond the delivery room of course, and according the the U.S. Agriculture Department, typically runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars until the child reaches the age of legal majority.

The USDA recently released its annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families, also known as the Cost of Raising a Child. The report shows that a middle-income family with a child born in 2012 can expect to spend about $241,080 ($301,970 adjusted for projected inflation) for food, shelter, and other necessities associated with child-rearing expenses over the next 17 years. This represents a 2.6 percent increase from 2011. Expenses for child care, education, health care, and clothing saw the largest percentage increases related to child rearing from 2011. However, there were smaller increases in housing, food, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses during the same period. The 2.6 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 is also lower than the average annual increase of 4.4 percent since 1960. 

They offer the following infographic as a means of understanding how these costs are spread out over the lifetime of a child.

Animated US Population Changes and Projections: From 1900 to 2060

Bill McBride at created an “animation of the U.S population distribution, by age, from 1900 through 2060,” demonstrating the gradual aging of the US population. In his words, “In 1900, the graph was fairly steep, but with improving health care, the graph has flattened out over the last 100 years. ...Watch for: 1) the original baby bust preceding the baby boom (the decline in births prior to and during the Depression). Those are the people currently in retirement. 2) the Baby Boom is obvious. 3) By 2020 or 2025, the largest cohorts will all be under 40.”

Below are the 1900 and the 2060 population distributions from McBride. To see how we got from one to the other, click here and watch the animation for some of the things mentioned above .

1900 Population Distribution
2060 Population Distribution

Thursday, August 15, 2013

2011 ACS Community Profile: Town of German Flatts

The American Communities Survey (ACS) provides snap shots of municipalities each and every year. For many of our communities, this represents the only source of data for things such as education, poverty, and transportation issues. As part of an effort to bring this data to the public's eye, I like to occasionally post the profiles for some of our towns and villages.

Below are links to the demographic, social, economic and housing profiles for the Town of German Flatts, NY, which can be found through the five year estimates of the ACS. To learn more about this prominent town in Herkimer County, visit the New York Genweb site.

In the meantime, here are links to the five year estimates of the 2011 ACS profile data for German Flatts!

2011 Five Year ACS Demographic Profile for German Flatts

2011 Five Year ACS Social Profile for German Flatts

2011 Five Year ACS Economic Profile for German Flatts

2011 Five Year ACS Housing Profile for Housing

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Promises Versus Realities of Broadband Coverage and Performance

A recent article about broadband internet access by Bob Scardamalia, the former chief demographer for the state of New York, sheds light on the promises versus the realities broadband access and performance especially in rural areas of this country. In the article Bob talks about his personal experience in trying to get (and maintain) high speed internet connectivity while running a small business in a rural part of Albany County. The article points out many of the contradictory realities of broadband access as compared to the promises made from many broadband providers. 

Of particular interest are the National Broadband Maps . These show, among other things, the coverage by types of technology available in an area. You can, for example, narrow the map down to the State of New York and see the following level of total coverage:
Click to Enlarge

You could also look at the speed test versus the advertised speeds for your area.  
Click to Enlarge

But some of these maps need to be viewed with caution. this is particularly true with the coverage maps. As article by Bob Scardamalia points out, there are problems with coverage maps. Each state is responsible for reporting its own data, so there is not national standard necessarily being applied. Definitions and reporting techniques are inconsistent between states, as well as possibly within states. And the data is based on "advertised" speeds reported by Internet service providers. So while these maps provide at least some insight into the world of broadband, they shouldn't be accepted blindly.

Monday, August 12, 2013

PEW Examines Who Uses Social Networking and Twitter

The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project has been studying online adults’ social networking site use since 2005, and they have seen substantial growth since that first survey. According to their most recent survey, 72% of online adults use social networking sites. Although younger adults continue to be the most likely social media users, one of the more striking stories about the social networking population has been the growth among older internet users in recent years. Those ages 65 and older have roughly tripled their presence on social networking sites in the last four years—from 13% in the spring of 2009 to 43% now.

This report, which was based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, also studied online adults’ use of Twitter. The percentage of internet users who are on Twitter has more than doubled since November 2010, currently standing at 18%. Internet users ages 18-29 are the most likely to use Twitter—30% of them now do so.

To see the complete report, visit this link at PEW.

Languages Spoken At Home: Intereactive Census Maps

From the New York State Data Affiliates Blog comes this interesting tidbit: Did you know that more than 300 different languages are spoken in the United States? A new report and mapping tool released by the U.S. Census Bureau takes a detailed look at many of the most popular languages spoken at home in America.

Of the 292 million people age 5 and older in the U.S. in 2011, 60.6 million individuals, or 21 percent, reported speaking a language other than English at home. This number grew by 158 percent from 1980 to 2010, while the nation’s overall population age 5 years and older grew by 38 percent. Check out this viz-of-the-week to see which languages grew the most.

The statistics show us not only that people spoke a language other than English at home, but also how well they spoke English.

If you are wondering what languages are spoken in your community, you can look it up with a new tool. The 2011 Language Mapper illustrates the geographic concentration of the population speaking 15 individual languages. The mapper, which uses data collected in the American Community Survey from 2007 to 2011, also shows, for each of these languages, the concentration of those who spoke English less than “very well.” You can put in an address to get to our area at the upper right of the map, and also select the language combination you are interested in as well.

More from the Census Bureau.

Friday, August 2, 2013

U.S. Travel Association Travel Industry Facts and Figures

As I get ready to take some time off from work (I will be in the Catskills for the next week) I thought it would be appropriate to look at the impact leisure and work travel has on our economy. So feel free to click the graphic below for a full page look at the travel industry in the United States.

Click to Enlarge