Capital Region

How Capital Region stacks up against state in worker pay

Urban-rural divide is implicit in data

Ever wonder where the money is in the Capital Region?

  • Saratoga County has the highest per-capita income in the state north of the Tappan Zee Bridge.
  • Schenectady County’s per-capita income is among the slowest-growing in the state.
  • Schoharie County has one of the lowest per-capita incomes in the state, but one of the fastest-growing.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on Thursday released the latest part of its continuing number crunch of the American paycheck, an ocean of statistics about the money people were paid in 2016.

That’s per-capita personal income: the total paid to everyone in a county, divided by the total number of people in that county, some of whom work part time or not at all. So if only two out of three people are working in Schenectady County, where the per-capita income was $46,967 in 2016, the average annual paycheck was well above $46,967. And it’s not just paychecks being counted, but most other forms of income, as well, from rental payments to stock dividends.

So how did the area stack up?

  • The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area per-capita income was $53,727 in 2016, up 1.7 percent from 2015 and 35th highest of the nation’s 382 metros.
  • U.S. per-capita income was $49,246, a 1.6 percent increase from 2015.
  • New York per-capita income was $59,563, fourth-highest among all states.
  • U.S. per-capita income in metro areas was $51,075.
  • U.S. per-capita income outside metro areas was $38,239.

The urban-rural divide is implicit in those last two statistics: There are generally more jobs and better-paying jobs inside a metropolitan area than there are out in the country.

Less obvious is the fact that the cost of living is often lower outside metropolitan areas. Compare the cost of housing, for example, in Clifton Park and Cobleskill. 

So the same amount of money goes a little further in rural areas.

Some other striking income disparities crop up:

  • New York County has the highest per-capita income in the state, at $156,048.
  • Bronx County, right across the Harlem River, has the lowest, at $33,154.
  • Connecticut’s Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area, another place with grim poverty close by glittering wealth (and for decades the home to General Electric’s corporate headquarters) had the highest per-capita income of any U.S. metro area, at $106,666.
  • New York City’s closest suburban counties, Westchester and Nassau, had New York state’s second- and third-highest per-capita incomes: $94,140 and $79,314, respectively. 


Specific statistics about individual counties in and around the Capital Region likely won’t surprise the people who’ve lived in them for a while, but it’s interesting to compare them side-by-side.

  Per-capita income in 2016 Rank in state Change from 2015
Albany County $56,948 7th 2.6%
Fulton County $39,159 41st 1.6%
Montgomery County $38,853 42nd 2.0%
Rensselaer County $45,212 20th 1.7%
Saratoga County $62,295 4th 1.3%
Schenectady County $46,967 19th 0.4%
Schoharie County $36,723 52nd 2.4%

Categories: Business, News, Schenectady County

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