Thursday, March 24, 2011

Breaking a 60 Year Losing Streak!

A real surprise was in the 2010 Census statistics released today:  Utica actually grew a bit to 62,235, up 2.6%!  Certainly it's not a big increase and it is too early to say Utica has turned a corner.  Nevertheless, when you consider that this is the first increase since 1950 when the population was 101,531, maybe the naysayers were just a little too quick to write Utica off as dead.

Utica fared better than the Mainline Thruway cities to the west which all declined, the worst being Buffalo which lost another 10.7%.  The Capital District cities pretty much grew, led by a 7.0% increase in Schenectady.

Maybe we can actually be just a little less sad!

More NY statistics are available at USA Today.


Anonymous said...

Yes, they speak many languages and cost the taxpayers that stayed here many $$$$$.

Strikeslip said...

You will need to show me some statistics to bear that out, Anonymous, before I will believe it. I see a lot of old homes in Utica taken over, renovated, and occupied. One boarded up one in my old neighborhood was taken over and turned into a real jewel which was sold on the open market. Neighborhoods that were in steep decline 10 years ago are starting to look pretty good. The people living in these restored homes pay taxes!

Matthew K. Tabor said...

The graph is pretty striking when we consider the average population growth in the US. The US Census from 1960 says there were 179 million people compared to 309 million in 2010. The US population almost doubled while Utica's almost halved.

Statistician said...

This is a very false picture. There are over 7,000 Bosnians in Utica and these people (who are well liked) were moved here on well as others.

The real story here is that Utica lost real population growth and did not gain when comparing native Uticans who have lived here for several decades.

Strikeslip said...

I don't think the picture is false. The Bosnians are investing in Utica more so than the "real" Uticans you mentioned.

I don't really see much difference between the Bosnian migration to Utica now at the dawn of the 21st century and the Italian migration at the dawn of the 20th other than economically it is more difficult for immigrants now because the niches in the job market are fewer. People are forced to be more entrepreneurial.

Utica repeats its history.

Our new neighbors are just as "real" as anyone else.

Strikeslip said...

Matt -- Yes it is striking when compared with the rest of the country...more so when you consider that Utica's graph is repeated in almost all the other Upstate cities west of the Capital District. Buffalo continues to decline. Niagara Falls, at one time a bit bigger than Utica, is down to 50,000.

This is a New York State created problem that may require a two-state solution to fix.

Anonymous said...

The Utica population growth is directly associated with the influx of immigrants. As in past ages that could be a huge plus for the city and the area. The challange will be to keep the industrious and talented. That will hinge on job creation. That will not happen unless the area dramatically improves its business development efforts. Significant reform and new direction are needed, and fast. The danger sign is the reaction of Roefaro, Damio and Picente. They all approach this very meager positive sign in Utica with glee while overall population here sligfhtly declined. That is not "real" growth. We need growth not a slower decline. Job opportunity, wealth creation and innovation are in short supply here. That is what must change.

Strikeslip said...

We have a major lack of vision/competency locally on the jobs creation front, particularly at the county level.

EDGE should be dismantled. It should have come up with a strategy for reusing all of Utica's many old industrial sites by now . . . but that's not even on the radar screen -- and Utica is barely mentioned on the EDGE's new website (which looks a lot like the old).

All the efforts have been funneled into Rome and sprawl around Utica. . . and "clusters" of particular industries . . . as though those "clusters" were invented by EDGE.

They are amateurs who never knew what they were doing ... and still don't after years of on-the-job training.

Anonymous said...

How does the population increase correlate with the increase in social service , public assistance, and the increase in medicade spending. Why the joy over population increase when it is leading to ever increasing needs for more taxes to support this unsustainable system?

Dave said...

I'd like to see population studies by marketing area (and I'm sure they exist) .. DMA or others.
To me, these more truly represent "living and working areas" than those defined by the political lines of cities, suburbs, etc. The latter are a throwback to previous centuries.

RPP said...

As I understood the reporting of the data, the area lost a little under 600 people. In the same article, the head of EDGE seemed to treat this as a major accomplishment. Under our current leadership, the EDGE has spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. It's mission is to promote growth and increase jobs, wealth and population. It not only has failed this overall mission but the job statistics are a net loss and a staggering reduction in decent wage jobs to retail. The only industry that has demonstrated significant growth since the EDGE creation has been the gaming, particularly at the Vernon casino. These jobs are a double edge sword. The EDGE record is single edge, dull and broken. At the heart of the problem is the attitude of the EDGE head who is content with only losing hundreds of people. This is the crumbs along the Mohawk mentality that has resulted in the dismal EDGE record and the area's decline. If I were an EDGE board member that attitude would be out the door and quickly. If I were a County Board member, EDGE would not get a dime under its current structure and leadership. Yes, dismantle and create an entirely new, bold, creative initiative. It can be donne but not with our current less the competent leadership.

Strikeslip said...

You are right on the money RPP.

Long before we had government run industrial development, the Chamber of Commerce was the entity promoting economic growth. Look at who controls the C of C . . . it's the same people controlling EDGE! So when government fails, there is no organized C of C to fall back on.

Genesis is another facet of the same problem. It does a great job cheer leading (and we need that some times), but when it comes to solving problems, for all of its organizing it has accomplished nothing tangible. But look at who runs that organization? You guessed it! (The 100s of "members" are NEVER asked to vote on leadership.)

The same old faces seem to show up everywhere ... controlling everything.

Maybe we need an "economic development" Tea Party!

Anonymous said...

What we really need is t redefine economic development tools and emphasis. The crying need ion the area is not to have people like DiMeo and his staff run around the world marketing year after year with no significant results. Public resources should leverage private resources and a venture capital fund created to finance high tech business development. The group running the fund should be high tech experts along with lawyers and bankers, the two sectors interested in adding "new" clients and making "new" money. Business leaders concerned with preserving their own labor costs should never head development groups and government money should not finance them. A huge staff costing hundreds of thousands a year is not needed. And, most of all in any structure the area has performnce standards and productivity ought to govern staff choices and tenure. As Strike says, you look around and its the same people doing the same things for a too lng period of time.

Anonymous said...

Small business creates the most jobs. No where on the EDGE site is small business creation mentioned or where/how to find help starting a small business in the Mohawk Valley.

Shouldn't this be one of their goals?

A chip plant is a dream that will require a billion dollars in state subsidies. Is that even possible today?

btw, I hope they didn't pay someone to build the new website. Seriously. It sucks.

Anonymous said...

None of EDGE's materials are impressive. One wonders how much they pay for them and who approves them.

Buzzer said...

Although refugees/immigrants are coming here, the refugees really don't have too much of a choice in the matter.
You can talk to immigrants from crime-ridden cities and ask them what they REALLY think of Utica. Many will be stuck here just like how the poorer families are... pigeon holed to certain typical immigrant jobs, barely scraping by due to exorbitant cost of living with zero quality of life benefits, unable to transfer to a better city for a decade or two. Maybe they can save enough to rent a moving van... but oops... someone in the family contracts cancer (due to the regions many fine chemical pollutants and hazardous construction materials in its unfortunate past) and they lose it all.

God forbid they buy a house and never recoup the costs of home ownership in Utica. I've heard way too many stories of a 50k house that was renovated for another 70k and it only got re-evaluated for only 5-10k more... and realistically sold for less than what they originally bought it for.

But watch their children... they'll go to college and never come back unless culture dictates a heavy familial duty. If the children are smart, they'll get a great job and move their family out with them...Or just learn to be Americans and wave good bye and grudgingly visit during Christmas... oh wait, they'll miss their friends' xmas parties... so I guess New Years... wait... New Years parties are better with friends too... okay... maybe....February? But what self-respecting person would bring their significant other to deep-ghetto Utica for Valentines day?

Okay, never mind.

Anonymous said...

The issue relates to all residents. The area requires change and reform to policies that enhance oppoertunities for all, including immigrants. Steps would include lower taxes by returning to basic services and reducing government employment costs, offering school choice, consolidation of governmental units,cutting or eliminating unnecessary and costly government facilities and restructuring economic development approaches and truly clamping down on drugs. These are steps that can be taken to enhance the community for all which would lead to the desire to stay and raise families here. The key question is whether the people here have the capacity to grasp and promote change.