Census estimates show 2021 population gain for Capital Region, loss for state

A view of State Street in downtown Schenectady
A view of State Street in downtown Schenectady

Every Capital Region county saw more deaths than births in the latest one-year report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau, just as almost every other county in the state outside the New York City Metropolitan Area did.

But enough people moved into the eight-county region that it managed a tiny population gain, even as New York as a whole saw its population decline by 319,020, the most of any state in the nation.

The Census estimates released Thursday cover the 12 months ending June 30, 2021.

For the Capital Region counties, the estimated population and the one-year percentage change were:

  • Albany 313,743 -0.2%
  • Columbia 61,778 0.4%
  • Greene 48,499 1.3%
  • Rensselaer 160,232 -0.4%
  • Saratoga 237,359 0.7%
  • Schenectady 158,089 0.1%
  • Warren 65,618 0%
  • Washington 60,956 -0.3%

That’s a total of 1,106,274, a scant gain of 1,212 over the year.

By percentage gain, Greene and Saratoga counties were second- and fourth-highest in the state after Sullivan (1.5%) and Hamilton (0.8%) counties.

The following list shows the components of the population change for each county — from left to right, births, deaths and net migration:

  • Albany 2,795, 3,197, -286
  • Columbia 440, 836, 625
  • Greene 365, 637, 889
  • Rensselaer 1,510, 1,913, -315
  • Saratoga 1,966, 2,472, 2,165
  • Schenectady 1,729, 1,751, 220
  • Warren 508, 855, 323
  • Washington 493, 786, 96

Of all the counties north and west of Orange County, only Jefferson County had more births than deaths. But Schenectady County came closest to breaking even, with just 22 more deaths than births.

The Census Bureau reported earlier this year that deaths outnumbered births in half the states and three quarters of all U.S. counties in the 12 months ending June 30, 2021. 

As a long-term trend, an aging population is usually blamed for this type of imbalance in a given state or county. But in this particular 12-month period, birth rates decreased and death rates increased, and COVID was blamed as a contributing factor for both.


The Mohawk Valley region saw a population decrease in the year ending June 30, 2021, Census estimates show. There, too, more people died than were born in all six counties. But while five of the counties saw more people moving in than moving out, their combined gain was less than the outflow from Oneida County.

The Mohawk Valley counties’ estimated mid-2021 population and one-year percentage change:

  • Fulton 53,324 -0.1%
  • Herkimer 60,139 -0.1%
  • Montgomery 49,532 0.3%
  • Oneida 232,125 -0.6%
  • Otsego 58,524 -0.4%
  • Schoharie 29,714 0.5%

That’s a total of 480,871, a one-year drop of 1,495.

The Census data give a bit of insight to migration trends.

Net domestic migration — the number of people moving into the state minus those moving out — was negative 352,185 for New York in the one-year period.

But net international migration was positive — 18,307 more people moved to New York from other countries than moved from New York to other countries.

The eight Capital Region counties gained 541 new residents from abroad, the Census estimates show, while the six Mohawk Valley counties gained 182, with the wide majority of them moving to Oneida County.

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