OUT OF ALIGNMENT
AN OVERVIEW OF THE MID-HUDSON VALLEY FROM THE GREAT RECESSION THROUGH 2030
The Mid-Hudson Valley is at a crossroads. The aftermath of the Great Recession has shined a light on the region’s fault lines, and it reveals an economy and demographics that have moved out of alignment. While the Mid-Hudson Valley may appear to be thriving, a closer look shows several trends that jeopardize the region’s economic well-being. Given the challenges facing the Mid-Hudson Valley, there is no better time than now to plan for the future.
Nationally, the United States is in a period of unprecedented economic expansion. But that expansion has been uneven and the benefits not shared by everyone. Part of the reason is that the country has moved from a manufacturing to a service economy. The same can be said for the Mid-Hudson Valley.
Regionally, the misalignment between the economy and its demographics is of grave concern. Overall population growth is essentially flat, and in many areas is declining, dramatically impacting school enrollment. The rapid decline in K-12 population impacts not just our schools, but the availability of a homegrown workforce. The data reflects that the region is getting older, and people are having fewer children than needed to replace the population. Young working-age people, if given the opportunity, leave to seek employment elsewhere, and if they stay, are postponing the formation of families due to the cost of living. Furthermore, high-paying jobs lost in the last two decades have made way for low-skill, low-wage jobs often resulting in workers having to hold down two jobs just to balance their budget.
The ramifications of these trends are alarming.
means that by 2028, public school enrollment is projected to decline by 25.8% since 2000/01, even as per pupil costs skyrocket amid disappointing outcomes. As a result, local school taxes will continue to rise, raising questions whether the current system of public education is sustainable.
means that residents 55 and older are projected to become 35% of the population by 2030 - we have not yet made the necessary social and economic adjustments to prepare for a significantly older population.
means that given the burden of college debt, lack of affordable housing, and the cost of childcare and health care, it is not surprising that 48% of the region’s 18-34 year-olds live with their parents. The national average is 34%.
means that the jobs being created pay less than what it costs to live here. As many as 8,774 manufacturing jobs with an average salary of $70,000 were lost between 2000 and 2017. Meanwhile, 13,130 additional jobs were created in retail and the accommodation and food services sector, which have average wages of $30,000 and $21,000 respecitvely in 2017. As a result, at least a third of residents struggle to make ends meet.
means that we have a housing crisis. There is a critical shortage of affordable housing due to a mismatch between the needs, the inventory, and what is being built. The unequal economic recovery has also resulted in a higher number of homeless.
The Cornell projection for the entire study area shows an increase of ONLY 2,403 or 0.2% by 2030, which is primarily fueled by Orange County
Much of Orange County’s growth can be attributed to the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic demographic, which will continue to become an even greater percentage of the county’s population
Columbia and Greene declined from 2000 to 2017, and will continue to fall under Cornell’s projection
Sullivan’s population increased, then declined. Cornell’s projection shows a continued decline
Putnam grew very modestly, and Cornell’s projection shows relatively little change
Ulster increased and then declined in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Cornell’s projection shows continued decline
Every county shows a decline in the number of births from 2007 to 2017
Putnam has the largest percentage decline in births, while Dutchess shows the greatest number decline
Enrollment has steadily declined in each of the counties from 2000/01 to 2018/19 with a decline of 14.5% or 26,485 students
Columbia and Greene have seen the most dramatic decline as a percentage of enrollment
Each county is projected to lose more students from 2018/19 to 2028/29, the projected decline indicates another 13.2% reduction in enrollment in approximately hald the time than the period from 2000/01 to 2018/19
Overall the region will lose 25.8% from 2000/01 - 2028/29, according to Cornell’s projection
between 2000/01 and 2028/29 Columbia (39%), Greene (36%) and Ulster (33%) are projected to lose a third or more of their student population. Sustained declines in enrollment, project a future loss of skilled workers and a significant impact on community college enrollment
Dutchess, Putnam, and Sullivan will lose 36% of their enrollment, while Orange will 19%
Total enrollment in the study area is projected to decline by 25.8% from 182,502 in 2000/01, to 135,446 in 2028/29
The region spent several billion dollars on education, a majority of which goes to staff salaries and benefits, but student outcomes are poor
In 2017/18, only 15% of the region’s 8th graders met or exceeded state proficiency standards in Math and only 38% met the proficiency standard for English. Proficiency is considered met when students score at level 3 or 4 out of 4 possible levels
The projected decline in enrollment will not lead to a commensurate reduction in per pupil costs due to legacy costs and increasing salaries and benefits
The average cost per pupil is projected to increase by $11,422 by 2028/29, unless school boards take proactive measures
Per pupil costs will range from a low of $36,185 in Dutchess to a high of $47,057 in Putnam
AGE 55+ AS A % OF THE TOTAL COUNTY POPULATION
By 2030, the 55+ age cohort is projected to increase dramatically in every county as the baby boomers continue to age
In six out of the seven counties (except Orange), people age 55+ made up 30% or more of the population in 2017
From 2000-2017 every county’s 55+ population grew
By 2030, 35% of the study area will be 55 and older, an increase of 17% since 2017
In Columbia and Greene more than 40% of the population will be age 55 and older by 2030
By 2030 almost 25% of Columbia will be age 70 or above
More than 10% of the study area’s population will be 75 and older by 2030
Median age in six of the seven counties exceeds the New York State and United States averages, with the exception of Orange
Orange County’s median age is impacted by the residents of Kiryas Joel (with a median age of 13.8), one of the lowest of any municipality in the country
From 2000 to 2017, the Hispanic and Latino community has grown by 85.2% or an increase of 72,610
Non-Hispanic community declined by 1.4% during the same period
The biggest percentage increase came in Putnam where the Hispanic and Latino community grew by 129%
The biggest declines in the non-Hispanic population came in Putnam, Sullivan and Columbia
Kiryas Joel: 13,138
Orange County: 341,367
Kiryas Joel: 22,794
Orange County: 378,174
Of the seven counties Orange grew the most between 2010 and 2017, Kiryas Joel accounted for 51% of that growth
The ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community has grown so rapidly that it has resulted in the creation of Palm Tree, New York’s first new town in 40 years
The largest number of jobs are in the government sector, which includes public education. The number of jobs in this sector has declined since 2008
Healthcare jobs grew the most since 2000 and at the fastest rate. All industries other than manufacturing and wholesale saw an increase in wages from 2000-2017
Retail jobs were stable and tourism related jobs grew, but both have average wages that cannot sustain a family
The 10 sectors above represent 84.8% of the region’s total workforce in 2017
The current unemployment rate is comparable to the rate in 2000 and 2007, however now almost every sector of employment is struggling to find workers
Although unemployment rates are at pre-Great Recession levels, high paying jobs have declined and have been replaced with lower wage jobs
A new metric should be created that measures the number of jobs that offer a living wage rate
Incomes appear to have risen between 2010 and 2017, but when wages are adjusted for inflation, all but Greene County saw median incomes decline
Since 2000, Columbia, Dutchess, Orange and Ulster have seen their poverty rates steadily climb
Only Greene, Putnam and Sullivan have seen slight declines since 2010
Putnam has the lowest poverty rates in the region despite a slight uptick in 2010
Our competition includes small metro areas in southern states
The cost of living is lower in regions that are considered competitive in attracting a workforce
Danbury, an adjacent region to the study area, has a higher median income with a similar cost of living
The higher the percentage of median income to annual cost of living, the easier it is to live
The cost of childcare is the highest monthly cost item in the Mid-Hudson Valley. This is due to New York State having higher costs than other regions due to education and licensing requirements, lower provider-child ratios, and basic cost of operations
The cost of childcare imposes financial stress, reduces the workforce and impacts family size
Orange has the highest percentage of renters and owners that are severely cost-burdened
Lack of resources for down payment and high student debt create barriers to entry for home ownership
Homelessness is also on the rise
Schools account for the largest share of property taxes
The rural counties of Sullivan and Greene have the smallest share of property taxes going towards schools
The percentage of 18-34 year-olds living with their parents in the study area in 2017 was 48%
In New York State, 40% live with their parents. US-wide, that number is 34%
Student debt is a contributor to the large percentage of those 18-34 year-olds living with their parents
Every county saw an increase in traveler spending, Ulster had the largest dollar increase ($156,000,000) and Columbia the largest percentage increase (52.2%)
Every county saw an increase in the percentage of jobs that are tourism related between 2010-2017
Tourism spending and its secondary impacts, such as the purchase of second homes and growth of new businesses linked to tourism, have been critical to the economy. The problem remains that the majority of tourism jobs created do not offer a living wage
Tourism sector jobs are typically covered by Accommodation & Food Services, Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation, and Retail Trade. Average annual wages in these sectors range from $20,000 to $30,000
The best time to plan is when you are not in crisis. While we are not forecasting when a recession will occur, a contraction has historically followed periods of economic expansion. It is harder to adjust to new realities during a period of contraction. The time to prepare for the future is now.
In the coming months, Pattern seeks input on issues such as:
How do we address the projected 25.8% decline in K-12 enrollment, the ever-increasing school property tax and the disappointing outcomes of student performance?
How do we attract higher paying jobs to make living in the Mid-Hudson Valley more affordable?
How do we attract and retain the 20-39 demographic?
How do we create housing that is affordable?
How do we refocus our resources to both provide for and integrate an aging population?
How do we plan for a region that is more diverse?