Regional Population Growth Continues, But Pace Slows
According to data from the US Census Bureau, the central Capital Region’s slight population growth has been slowing in recent years. From 2011 through 2013, the central Capital Region (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties) averaged a year-to-year growth rate of 0.34%, or 2,854 people per year. Since 2014, however, the population growth has slowed, averaging a year-to-year rate of 0.16%. The year-to-year growth rates have declined every year since 2013, falling from 0.35% in 2013 to 0.18% in 2014; 0.16% in 2015; and then 0.13% in 2016.
The region’s population growth since 2010 is concentrated in Albany and Saratoga counties. Since 2010, the population of these two counties has increased by 4,642 and 7,446 respectively, accounting for 96.3% of the Region’s total growth since 2010. Saratoga County has led the Region, averaging an annual growth rate of 0.56%. Even Saratoga County has seen the year-to-year growth rates slow, averaging year-to-year growth of 0.69% from 2011 through 2013. From 2014 to 2016, the average year-to-year growth has slowed to 0.42%. Meanwhile, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties have experienced very little change in their populations. From 2010 to 2016, Rensselaer County recorded a population growth of 641 (0.40%) people. Meanwhile, Schenectady County recorded a population decline of 174 (-0.11%) since the 2010 Census.
When compared to growth rates for the State and Nation, the Region’s results are mixed. From 2011 to 2016, New York State averaged year-to-year growth of 0.31%, while the Region averaged just 0.25%. But, growth for the State has slowed more dramatically than it has for the Region, and in 2016 the population actually declined year-to-year by 0.01%. Compared to the National rate of growth, the Region lags further behind. Since 2011, the average year-to-year growth Nationally has been 0.76% and has remained relatively stable. From 2010 to 2016, the Region’s population increased by 1.50%, the State’s by 1.89%, and the Nation by 4.66%.
Capital Region’s grows, lags behind national rates
From 2010 to 2016, the Capital Region’s population grew from 837,967 to 850,522, a growth of 12,555 or 1.5%. On average, the Region’s population has increased annually by 0.25%, but that growth has slowed since 2013. In 2013, the year-to-year increase was 0.35%. In 2014, the increases was 0.18%. By 2016, the year-to-year growth rate was 0.13%, adding only 1,091 people from 2015. Most of the Region’s growth since 2010 has occurred in Albany and Saratoga counties, combing for 12,088 (96.3%) of the Region’s 12,555 new residents.
When we compare the Region’s annual growth rates to State and National levels, we see mixed results . The State’s annual growth rate has declined more sharply since 2011 than the Region’s, and is now on par/lower than the Region’s. The Nation’s annual growth rate has hovered 0.70% since 2011, almost five and a half times stronger than the Region’s 2016 growth rate of 0.13%.
Population falling behind projections
In July 2012, CDRPC produced population projections based upon long term trends and the 2010 Census. Those projections indicated that by 2020, the Region’s total population would exceed 864,000. It now appears, with population growth slowing, that the population will reach somewhere near 855,000, roughly 1.0% below the projections. For the Region to reach a population of 864,426 by 2020, the Region would need to an annual population growth of 3,476, roughly 0.41% every year, a rate has not been achieved in the last six years.
Based upon current trends, the populations of both Rensselaer and Schenectady counties will experience little change between 2016 and 2020. Albany’s population will only increase by roughly 1,200. Saratoga County’s population, the fastest growing of the four counties, is projected to reach 234,358 by 2020. For it to reach that goal, Saratoga County would need to average 0.80% growth annually. It is more likely that the County will fall short with a population around 230,000 by 2020 based on current estimates.
Learn more about regional data trends by visiting our Data pages at www.cdrpc.org.
About the Capital District Regional Planning Commission
The Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC), a regional planning and resource center, is in its 50th year of providing support to New York’s Capital Region. The CDRPC provides objective analysis of data, trends, opportunities, and challenges relevant to the Region’s economic development and planning communities. Since its creation the Commission has been promoting intergovernmental cooperation; communicating, collaborating, and facilitating regional initiatives; and fostering dialogues on solutions to regional problems.
The CDRPC is established by an agreement signed by representatives of Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga and Schenectady Counties in 1967, and these counties continue their commitment to the organization by providing financial support for its programs and services to this day. This funding forms the basis for CDRPC’s operating budget, which CDRPC uses to leverage funding from grants and other revenue sources to serve the best interests of the public and private sectors in the Region. For further information about CDRPC please visit www.cdrpc.org/about-us, like us at www.facebook.com/cdrpc, and follow us at www.twitter.com/CDRPCny.