district profile
Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metro Area

Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Schoharie Counties

This metro area, comprising five counties, is home to slightly more than 870,000 residents, based on the 2010 Census. Albany and Schenectady Counties are relatively densely populated, while Rensselaer (to the east) and Saratoga (to the north) are more suburban, containing both bedroom communities and some agriculture. Rural Schoharie County (to the west) is less densely populated. Population growth has exceeded the state-wide average in all five counties: Saratoga County has seen the strongest gains over the past decade (nearly 10 percent), matching the nationwide average, while other counties in the metro area have seen more moderate gains in the range of 3-6 percent—still far exceeding the statewide increase of 2.1 percent.

Albany is New York State's most affluent metro area outside the New York City metropolitan region. Median household income was roughly $57,000 in 2009—moderately above the national median and slightly above the statewide figure. However, within the metro area there is wide variation: household income is well above average in Saratoga County, but well below average in rural Schoharie County. The population's educational attainment is also well above average: 33 percent of adults hold a college degree—slightly above the state average and well above the U.S. average. The median home price in metro Albany was roughly $194,000 in 2009, ranging from $151,000 in Schoharie County to $223,000 in Saratoga. Home-price declines during the housing bust were relatively mild at roughly 11 percent from their peak in the summer of 2007 to the trough in late 2010.1

The area's dominant industry is state government—a feature which helped cushion the area from the latest economic downturn but which, more recently, has been a liability, as public sector jobs have been reduced. The area possesses a burgeoning high-tech industry base, and this has been a source of job growth in recent years. The University at Albany is an important part of the local economy, and is a leader in the field of nano-technology. More broadly, metropolitan Albany held up better than most other metro areas during the recent economic downturn, as employment fell 3.3 percent between its peak in mid-2008 and the end of 2009. However, in 2010, while private-sector employment began to recover, steep job losses in state government have more than offset these gains.

Recent Trends
During the first half of 2012, private-sector employment in Albany has grown modestly, at a pace comparable to the nation’s. Total employment growth, however, has been quite weak due to substantial job cuts in federal, state, and local and government. Manufacturing has been a source of job gains, growing a substantial 6 percent. Educational and health services and professional and business services have also contributed to employment gains. Since the start of the local downturn in employment in 2008, Albany is still down almost 14,000 jobs, putting it among the weakest metropolitan areas in New York State. Unemployment reached 7.7 percent in June 2012, an elevated rate for the region. Home prices have edged up from their trough in 2011, but remain 7 percent below their peak in 2007.

1Trends in home prices referred to here are all based on repeat-sales indexes from CoreLogic.

  Albany MSA*: selected characteristics
    Population in 2010 % of 2010 Population that is1  
  Total Population1 % Change from 20001 per Sq. Mile2 Black Hispanic Asian  
  Albany Metro Area 870,716   5.4   309  7.7  3.6  3.1 
    Albany 304,204   3.3   581  12.7  4.9  4.8 
    Rensselaer 159,429   4.5   244  6.5  3.8  2.2 
    Saratoga 219,607   9.5   271  1.5  4.0  3.2 
    Schenectady 154,727   5.6   751  9.5  0.6  3.2 
    Schoharie 32,749   3.7   53  1.3  0.7  0.7 
  New York State 19,378,102   2.1   410  15.9  17.6  7.3 
  USA 308,745,538   9.7   87  12.6  16.3  4.8 

  Albany MSA*: selected characteristics
    Median % of Homes % of Adults with5  
  Household Income3 Home Value4 Owner Occupied4 College Degrees HS Degrees  
  Albany Metro Area $57,438   $193,600   67.1   32.5   90.2 
    Albany $55,856   $260,400   60.5   37.2   90.8 
    Rensselaer $53,686   $177,000   65.6   26.2   88.8 
    Saratoga $64,964   $223,100   74.3   33.9   91.4 
    Schenectady $54.740   $163,000   70.2   30.5   89.7 
    Schoharie $47,790   $151,200   75.5   19.0   84.9 
  New York State $54,659   $310,000   55.4   31.8   84.2 
  USA $50,221   $191,900   66.4   27.5   84.6 
* Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are metro areas defined by the Office of Management and Budget for use by federal statistical agencies.
1 Source: US Bureau of the Census, decennial Census of Population.
2 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census of Population; land area data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s geographic database (TIGER® database) for Census 2000.
3 Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 2009 (1-year estimates)

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 2007-09 (3-year estimates)


Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 2006-08 (3-year estimates)

October 2012