Census estimates show migration trends within Capital Region

Saturday was moving day for an Albany family who is selling their longtime home and relocating elsewhere in the city.
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Saturday was moving day for an Albany family who is selling their longtime home and relocating elsewhere in the city.

CAPITAL REGION — New data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau paints a statistical picture of migration patterns in the area, estimating where people most often move to and the most common places they arrive from.

Not surprisingly, the greatest number of moves are to an adjoining county or a nearby town. But a significant number of people move in from beyond the region each year, and a fair number leave the region.

Data released in August from the formal 2020 Census count showed what many people expected: The large counties of the Capital Region made small to moderate population gains, though none of them as large as the nationwide 7.35% increase and only one larger than the statewide 4.25% increase.

But the smaller counties nearby lost population from 2010 through 2020, as did most upstate counties.

The dataset released Thursday is an estimate of movement across municipal and state lines from 2015 through 2019.

It is useful for local and regional planning as well as for strategizing private business and public infrastructure investments, said Mark Castiglione, executive director of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission.

“All data is interesting and can be helpful,” he said. 

“I think this data source along with other sources can really paint a picture of migration trends,” Castiglione said. “It tells us how we’re changing as a region.”

Other datasets CDRPC likes to mine are tallies of the number of times places are listed in U.S. Postal Service delivery change requests and Internal Revenue Service address changes.

“You can also get a sense of international moves,” he said.

Saratoga County for example saw an estimated 821 arrivals from abroad, with Asia the most common origin point.

Also, Castiglione said, “You see a lot of migration within the counties” of the region.

For example, the fastest-growing suburbs in Saratoga and Schenectady counties, Halfmoon and Niskayuna, both saw many arrivals from nearby communities.

Some data require analysis or at least a little research to understand, Castiglione said. 

Maricopa County in the Phoenix area is the second-largest source of new residents for the town of Halfmoon (an estimated 251 in five years, more than Schenectady or Niskayuna or Colonie). The Phoenix area is home to a large semiconductor industry, and there’s a large semiconductor factory in Malta, the next town north of Halfmoon.

Meanwhile, there’s a flow of residents between Saratoga County and various mid-sized coastal cities that might seem improbably large. However, Saratoga County is home to a key training facility for sailors learning to run nuclear reactors and those coastal cities are homeports to the U.S. Navy’s nuclear fleet.

Are these relationships as directly cause-and-effect as they appear? And what’s their impact? These are the questions planners try to answer through analysis.

A caveat: The migration numbers are estimates, and the margin of error assigned to them can be large, particularly if small numbers of people are involved.

“This dataset is more helpful the larger the numbers are,” Castiglione said.

Here are some details from the 2015-2019 Census migration data:

ALBANY COUNTY

Counties new residents most often moved from: Rensselaer (2,542), Schenectady (1,557), Saratoga (1,512)

Counties residents most often moved to: Rensselaer (2,809), Schenectady (2,180), Saratoga (1,938)

States new residents most often moved from: Massachusetts (822), California (473), Connecticut (247)

States residents most often moved to: Florida (988), Massachusetts (876), Texas (824) California (691), North Carolina (582)

Other notable details: An estimated 1,482 people moved from Albany County to New York City while 2,749 moved up from the city.

FULTON COUNTY

Counties new residents most often moved from: Montgomery (641), Saratoga (193), Schoharie (153), Schenectady (129)

Counties residents most often moved to: Montgomery (520), Herkimer (270), Saratoga (215), Albany (194)

States new residents most often moved from: Florida (71), Ohio (54), Massachusetts (34)

States residents most often moved to: Georgia (112), Texas (87), Kansas (66), New Hampshire (55)

Other notable details: An estimated 55 people relocated to Fulton County from the Caribbean and 33 from Asia.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Counties new residents most often moved from: Fulton (520), Albany (269), Schenectady (262)

Counties residents most often moved to: Fulton (641), Saratoga (197), Nassau (167), Schenectady (104), Albany (103)

States new residents most often moved from: Pennsylvania (268), Massachusetts (81), Florida (69)

States residents most often moved to: Pennsylvania (97), Florida (94), Michigan (57)

Other notable details: Montgomery County, home to a large Puerto Rican community and a sizable Amish community, gained an estimated 260 new residents from Puerto Rico and 268 from Lancaster County, heart of Pennsylvania Amish country.

SARATOGA COUNTY

Counties new residents most often moved from: Albany (1,938), Schenectady (1,545), Warren (967), Washington (823), Rensselaer (752)

Counties residents most often moved to: Albany (1,512), Warren (845) Schenectady (671), Washington (630), Rensselaer (616)

States new residents most often moved from: South Carolina (946), Massachusetts (698), Arizona (491), Virginia (473), Florida (472), California (435)

States residents most often moved to: Florida (750), Virginia (683), Washington (662), Virginia (458), Texas (395)

Other notable details: An estimated 821 people moved to Saratoga County from abroad: 45 from Africa, 600 from Asia, 39 from the Caribbean, 17 from Central America, 114 from Europe and 6 from South America.

SCHENECTADY COUNTY

Counties new residents most often moved from: Albany (2,180), Saratoga (671), Rensselaer (374), Queens (289), Brooklyn (234)

Counties residents most often moved to: Albany (1,557), Saratoga (1,545), Rensselaer (452), Montgomery (262), Clinton (207)

States new residents most often moved from: Massachusetts (219), Connecticut (208), New Jersey (193) 

States residents most often moved to: Florida (498), Massachusetts (493), North Carolina (336), Texas (301), Kentucky (209) 

Other notable details: Schenectady County gained an estimated 330 new residents from Europe, the fifth-highest number among all upstate counties.

SCHOHARIE COUNTY

Counties new residents most often moved from: Albany (222), Saratoga (116), Schenectady (116), Otsego (99), Queens (92)

Counties residents most often moved to: Albany (243), Otsego (179), Fulton (153), Schenectady (126), Suffolk (118)

States new residents most often moved from: Florida (106), Connecticut (53), North Carolina (48), South Carolina (45), 

States residents most often moved to: Tennessee (97), Virginia (60), Ohio (52), Florida (45)

Other notable details: Estimated inflow of residents (2,132) from 2015 through 2019 outnumbered outflow (1,636) but in the official 2020 Census count, Schoharie County had the greatest population loss of any county in the state (9.3%) from 2010 through 2020, a period that includes a mini-exodus in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene’s devastating floods in 2011.

ALBANY

Top previous hometowns for arriving residents: Bronx (579), Brooklyn (532), Asian cities (452), Manhattan (420), Guilderland (372), Queens (304)

Top destination hometowns for departing residents: Colonie (1,471), Bronx (640), Schenectady (489), Guilderland (353), Troy (319), Cohoes (271)

AMSTERDAM 

Top previous hometowns for arriving residents: Albany (176) Caguas, Puerto Rico (168), Gloversville (152), Schenectady (51)

Top destination hometowns for departing residents: Gloversville (163), Hempstead (128), town of Florida (111), town of Amsterdam (92)

COBLESKILL

Top previous hometowns for arriving residents: Queens (77), Rensselaerville (60), Livingston County (55) Richmondville (49), Bronx (48)

Top destination hometowns for departing residents: Richmondville (107), Niskayuna (60), Schenectady (59), Sullivan County, Tennessee (55), Roseboom (37)

GLOVERSVILLE

Top previous hometowns for arriving residents: Mayfield (217), city of Amsterdam (163), Broadalbin (144), Edinburg (81), town of Johnstown (66)

Top destination hometowns for departing residents: City of Johnstown (526), Albany (159), city of Amsterdam (152), town of Herkimer (150)

JOHNSTOWN

Top previous hometowns for arriving residents: Gloversville (526), town of St. Johnsville (104), town of Johnstown (98)

Top destination hometowns for departing residents: Manhattan (56), town of Mohawk (50), Little Falls (36), town of Herkimer (30)

SARATOGA SPRINGS

Top previous hometowns for arriving residents: Asian cities, (301), Colonie (162), Berkeley County, S.C. (132), Hoboken, N.J. (126), Wilton (121), Warrensburg (115)

Top destination hometowns for departing residents: Wilton (374), Milton (168), Newport News, Virginia (140), Malta (140), town of Saratoga (104)

SCHENECTADY

Top previous hometowns for arriving residents: Albany (489), Colonie (285), Glenville, 216, Rotterdam (215), Brooklyn (190)

Top destination hometowns for departing residents: Rotterdam (752), Glenville (403), Niskayuna (357), Albany (300), Halfmoon (216)

TROY

Top previous hometowns for arriving residents: Asian cities (379), Colonie (367), Queens (344), Albany (319)

Top destination hometowns for departing residents: Brunswick (386), Watervliet (353), Albany (233), Colonie (176)

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