I’m always saying that life in the Capital Region isn’t that bad.
At times, you might even describe it as pretty good.
This past week the U.S. Census Bureau released new data that affirms my gut feelings: Life in the Capital Region is indeed pretty good, especially if you go by basic, traditional measures of well-being and health.
Incomes are up. Poverty is down. More people have health insurance.
According to the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey, which keeps track of these things, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Area actually fares better on these measures than the rest of the state.
Our median income – $65,855 in 2016, up from $63,080 in 2015 – is higher than the state median income of $62,909. Our 9.9 percent poverty rate is lower than the state poverty rate of 14.7, and lower than the national poverty rate of 12.2 percent.
It’s good news, and it makes the Capital Region one of upstate New York’s few bright spots – that rare bright spot where incomes are rising and better than average, and fewer people live in poverty.
In other upstate communities, it’s a much different picture.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, released earlier this year, show that the Mohawk Valley region, which includes Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties, is struggling with a shrinking workforce and lower pay. In 2016, the average annual wage was $39,985.
Go a little further west, and you’ll encounter upstate cities where the poverty rate is among the worst in the nation.
According to the American Community Survey, Syracuse is the 13th-poorest place in the country, with a poverty rate of…
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