seniors-150x150-7947983Compared to national and statewide averages, rural counties in upstate New York have a much larger share of residents aged 65 and older, the latest Census Bureau estimates show.

The 65+ population was 15.3 percent of the U.S. total as of mid-2016, according to census data released today. The Empire State as a whole was just a hair above the national average, with 15.4 percent of New Yorkers falling into the age category that demographers generally tag as elderly.

However—as is also the case with statistics reflecting wealth and economic growth—there is a pronounced disparity in the age profile between upstate and downstate areas. New York City was well below the state and national averages, with an elderly population that came to just 13.5 percent of total. The 65+ population in downstate suburban areas were generally above the national average—but not far above, ranging from a low of 15.4 percent in Rockland County to 17 percent in Nassau County.

The counties with the oldest age profiles were all upstate. The list was topped by Hamilton County, where elderly residents made up nearly 29 percent of the population, followed by Delaware, Columbia, Essex and Warren, all of which had elderly populations of 21 percent or more.  That top five list reflects two characteristics of New York counties with older age profiles: most, such as Delaware and Essex, are both sparsely populated and poor, but some, like Columbia and Warren, have also become retirement havens for relatively affluent senior citizens.

The concentration of elderly residents by county is depicted the map below.

 

pasted-image-at-2017_06_22-01_24-pm-9499071

 

Since 2010, census data also show, the share of New York residents aged 65 and over has grown in line with previous trends, which have been more pronounced upstate than downstate or in the U.S. as a whole.  And it’s projected that the older-age population of New York will continue growing in coming decades, which at least in part reflects the departure of younger residents.

As shown in the table below, the Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier, respectively, had the largest elderly populations in the state. After New York City, the region with the second lowest proportion of elderly resident was the North Country—but the average for that region was heavily weighted by Jefferson County, which includes a concentration of young military families in Fort Drum-Watertown area. With just 13.3 percent of its population over 64, Jefferson had upstate’s smallest elderly population. The North Country’s age profile also is affected by the region’s concentration of state prisons, whose mostly non-elderly inmates are counted in the local population.

screen-shot-2017-06-22-at-1-54-50-pm-2141973

 

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is a senior fellow at the Empire Center.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

NY’s getting a bit grayer

The elderly share of America's population has been growing—but New York is graying more slowly. That’s among the trends to be gleaned from the latest U.S. Census estimates of population distributions by age group at the state and county level. Read More

Jobs grow further apart in NY

Newly revised data from the state Labor Department indicate New York's regional economic performance gap has grown larger in the last year. On a year-to-year basis, the state gained 103,900 private-sector jobs in January—a growth rate of 1.3 percent at a time when the U.S. as a whole was growing by 2.1 percent, according to the state Labor Department's monthly jobs report. Read More

How “North NY” would stack up

If the New York counties north of the New York City metro region were to split off and become a separate state, how would it rank nationally? The question is prompted by news accounts of last weekend's Southern Tier rally by a coalition of groups whose members want upstate to secede from the rest of New York. Not all the advocates favor creation of a separate state, however. Some favor absorption into Pennsylvania, while others suggest avoiding the constitutional hurdles of full statehood by changing New York's own constitution to create two "autonomous regions" within the outline of a "token" remaining single state. In addition, their definitions of "upstate" seem to differ. Read More

NY foreign immigration falls short of out-migration

New York’s net population gain from foreign immigration failed to fully offset its net loss from domestic migration between 2010 to 2012, the latest two-year Census estimates show. Read More

The “Empire Exodus” continues

Fifty-seven of New York’s 62 counties lost more residents to other parts of the state or the nation than they gained between 2010 and 2012, according to newly released U.S. Census estimates. Eleven of those counties might be described as demographically dying Read More

The Empire State exodus continues

New York’s imminent fall from third to fourth most populous state can be attributed mainly to its heavy loss of residents to the rest of the country—a trend persisting in this decade, according to Census Bureau data released today. Read More

NY still #3 … for now

Newly released Census estimates show New York is still the nation’s third most populous state, barely ahead of Florida. Read More

Heading for the exits in NY

For a second consecutive decade, New York State's "domestic migration" loss of residents to other states was the largest in the country as a percentage of its population, as documented in . Our negative net rate of total migration, after taking account of Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.