All but four of Franklin County’s 19 towns are estimated to have lost population since the last U.S. census was taken 10 years ago, according to a report by the Empire Center for Public Policy released Thursday.
The towns of Bangor, Burke and Constable saw modest growth in their populations, while the number of people living in the town of Duane –– 174 –– did not change in the past decade, reported the Albany-based center –– which describes itself as an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank. The county’s other 19 towns saw population drops ranging from 0.3% –– representing six people –– in the town of Westville to 13.2%, or 284 people, in the town of Chateaugay.
The numbers were drawn from “the final set of pre-pandemic U.S. Census population data … updated with estimated populations as of July 1” the report said.
The cumulative numbers indicate the county’s population is likely to fall below 50,000 unless there is a significant reversal between July 1 and the completion of the current census.
While Chateaugay’s 13.2% drop represents the largest percentage decrease among the county’s towns, the largest decline in raw numbers is estimated to have taken place in the county’s largest town –– Malone –– where the number of people is estimated to have fallen by 467, or 3.2%. The county’s other large towns, Tupper Lake and Harrietstown, are estimated to have experienced population drops of 270 (4.5%) and 254 (4.4%), respectively.
The county’s fourth-largest town, Moira, is estimated to have lost 171 people, or 5.8% of its population, the report said.
The county’s seven incorporated villages all saw their populations decline as well. Brushton lost 42 residents, but the small size of the village meant that drop represented 8.9% of the population, while Tupper Lake saw its population decrease by 224 people, or 6.1% of its population.
The number of people in Malone and Saranac Lake fell by 311 and 206 –– 5.3% and 3.8% –– respectively.
Wile the population of the town of Chateaugay plummeted, the village saw its numbers fall by just 35 people, or 4.3% of its population.
The Franklin County numbers reflect the statewide trend of declining populations throughout most of upstate with “a few small pockets of growth amid the general stagnation downstate,” the report said.
“Eighty-four percent of New York’s 931 towns had population declines, with losses most concentrated in upstate rural areas and increases concentrated in suburbs and exurbs of urban centers,” the report said. Exceptions to the overall decline were found primarily in the suburbs of New York City and Buffalo.
The cities of Saratoga Springs and Yonkers showed the largest estimated population growth, while the Big Four upstate cities –– Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse –– all saw their populations drop.
Nearly three quarters of the state’s 537 villages lost population.
The final numbers in the 2020 census will serve as the basis for congressional and legislative reapportionment effective with the 2022 elections, the report noted. “Trends since 2020 indicate New York’s slower-than-average growth will cost the state one or two congressional seats, and the makeup of the Legislature will see a further shift of seats from depopulating upstate regions to downstate New York,” the report said.
To see the complete findings of the report, visit www.empirecenter.org/publications/nyc-downstate-suburbs-account-for-most-of-nys-2018-19-population-dip/.