Census Data Show Population Drops Across So. Tier, Except Tompkins Co.


BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG)—The U.S. Census Bureau released its first batch of redistricting data earlier this month.

Population loss occurred nearly across the board in the Southern Tier. Delaware, Chenango and Schoharie Counties each lost over 6 percent of their total population in the last decade.

(Paul Sancya/AP Photo)

As a whole, the Southern Tier saw an 11 percent decrease in its population under 18, while the Mohawk Valley faced a decline close to 8 percent.

Jan Vink is with Cornell University’s Program on Applied Demographics*, part of the Cornell Population Center. He said these trends are concerning.

“If we look at trends of the number of births throughout New York, it has been declining, and in these areas even stronger,” Vink said.

The short-term effects of this decline could include more school district closures or mergers, Vink added. Several communities across the Southern Tier have already seen or considered those changes.

Vink said this census numbers are largely the result of ongoing trends.

“Ten years ago it was the same order of magnitude,” he explained.

Counties with higher levels of population decline also tend to have higher median ages, Vink said, as well as more natural deaths due to an aging population and migration out of municipalities. Vink said these factors could explain, in part, the census bureau’s findings.

In Tompkins County, the total population grew by 4 percent in the last decade. The county is the only one in the region that saw continuous population growth between 2000 and 2020.

Onondaga, Monroe and Erie Counties also saw population growth, according to the new census numbers, a reversal of population trends from past censuses.

New York is expected to lose one congressional seat. An independent commission is working to determine where that will occur.

The census bureau is expected to release demographic and housing data in the coming weeks.

*Full disclosure, Cornell University is a WSKG underwriter.