Population Growth is Mixed for Capital Region

The 2016 population estimates are now available from CDRPC. These estimates help us gauge growth between Census’ for towns, cities, and villages. With six years of estimates available, we can reliably analyze trends since the 2010 Census. We can also compare the estimates to projections for 2020 and better understand growth around the region.

Mixed Signals

The new estimates show a sharp divide between the Region’s cities and towns. The optimism from 2010 that cities would continue to grow has faded as they show signs of stagnant growth. Meanwhile, the towns surrounding the cities continue to grow, bringing concerns of sprawl.

Albany’s population has increased since 2010, but has decreased since 2013 when it was estimated at 98,637. The 2016 estimates put the city’s population at 98,111, 1.5% higher than 2010. Troy and Schenectady, on the other hand, have steadily seen their populations decline, most so with Schenectady. From 2010 to 2016, Schenectady’s population declined by almost 2%. Troy has fared slightly better with a decline of almost 1%. Meanwhile, Saratoga Springs has shown a steady trend of increases, and in 2016 its population is estimated to have grown by 4% since 2010.

Net Population Change, 2010-2016

The fastest growing municipalities since 2010 are Halfmoon (11%), Ballston (9%), Malta (8%), Brunswick (7%), and Bethlehem (5%). Halfmoon’s population has increased from 21,535 in 2010 to 23,898 in 2016. Development was long centered in neighboring Clifton Park, but in recent years has shifted. From 2010-16, Clifton Park grew by just 0.1%, meaning that Halfmoon is now the center of development for the region. While Halfmoon’s growth may not surprise many, Brunswick’s may. Not only is Brunswick one of the fastest growing municipalities in the Region, it was by far the fastest growing municipality in Rensselaer County. Much like Halfmoon, development has long been centered in Brunswick’s neighbor North Greenbush. But as available land has increasingly become limited in North Greenbush, Brunswick has emerged as a viable alternative.

2016 Population Estimates vs 2020 Population Projections

Now that we are half way between the 2010 and 2020 Census’, we have a better understanding how well projections for population in 2020 are holding up. For most municipalities CDRPC’s projections remain accurate, with most recording between 98% and 99% of their projected 2020 populations. A handful of municipalities are tracking above/below their projections, most notably Brunswick and Clifton Park. Brunswick has grown rapidly, and is already 5% larger than the projections for 2020. On the other end of the spectrum, Clifton Park’s slowing growth means that it is lagging behind its projected population. As for 2016, the Town recorded 94% of its projected population. With a median growth rate of just .07%, it seems likely that the Town will come up short of the projections.

Overall, the four counties and the Region are on pace to meet the 2020 projections. However, growth from the four counties and the Region is slowing with year-to-year growth rates steadily declining. From 2011 to 2013, Saratoga County (the fastest growing county in the region) averaged an annual growth rate of 0.7%; from 2014 to 2016 it averaged just 0.4%. The Region averaged 0.3% annual growth from 2011-13 which has declined slightly to 0.2% from 2014-16. This suggests that the Region has entered a period of stagnant population growth.

To find out more about the new population estimates, be sure to check out the Summer 2017 issue of Capital District Data, coming at the end of June. To sign up for Capital District Data, and to read previous issues, be sure to visit here. For more information on CDRPC’s population projections, please visit us by clicking here. Finally, for the population estimates, visit us here.