Capital Region Indicators, 2016

About this Report

In 2003, we released our first regional indicators report entitled Capital District Regional Indicators Report: 2003. That report provided a series of key indicators and benchmarks to help evaluate the Capital Region against regions with similar characteristics.

This new report compliments our work from 2015, Capital Region Statistical Report, and enables us to compare our region against others in a manner similar to that used in the 2003 report.

This Report primarily relies on a time series comparison of five-year data from the American Community Survey (ACS). In late 2015, the US Census Bureau released the ACS 2010-2014 five-year data which provide the nation with the first opportunity to perform a time-series comparison of this information from the first 5-year survey for the period 2005-2009. The ACS data is important because it provides detailed information that was previously collected from a sample in the decennial census using a Census questionnaire with detailed questions, commonly referred to as the “Long Form.” The Census discontinued the Long Form and replaced it with the ongoing American Community Survey.


This Report examines six topics and compares the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), comprised of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie Counties, with a peer group. The six areas are:

  • Social Welfare
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Economics
  • Transportation
  • Health
  • Peers

The Peer group of Metropolitan Areas that we use to compare our region were selected based on the following two criteria:

  1. The MSA must contain a state capital, and;
  2. The MSA must have a population within 40% of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA population.

Excluding Honolulu, eleven MSAs met our selection criteria according to 2010-2014 data. In addition, though they do not meet the selection criteria, we have also included Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, NY, because they are major cities in Upstate New York.


For each topical area, we use indicators from the Capital Region Statistical Report. For most indicators, we compare data from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey (ACS) five-year summary and the 2010-2014 ACS five-year summary. When data is not available from the ACS, we obtained data from other sources as explained in the following sections.

As previously noted, this report is primarily based on data from the ACS. The ACS is an ongoing survey that collects data about certain characteristics of the US population. The report uses 5-year estimates, which are period estimates collected over a specified time period. In the case of this report, we use two 5-year, non-overlapping periods: 2005-2009 and 2010-2014. The most recent 5-year estimates were released in December 2015 and it was the first time that 5-year data was available in non-overlapping periods. It is important not to compare overlapping periods because data in the survey will be reflected more than once and introduces challenges in making independent comparisons. CDRPC provided this ACS data to the Rockefeller College in 2016 for its analysis.

In certain instances, ACS data was not available for the peer group. This includes certain education, health, and transportation data. In these circumstances, non-ACS data was used to provide the reader with an opportunity to evaluate these trends; these data sources are noted in the report.

View the report here:  Capital Region Indicators