Rochester Metro Area

With a population of more than one million people, Rochester is the third-largest metropolitan area in New York State. Rochester’s economy was historically centered around large manufacturing companies such as Eastman Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, and Xerox, but the number of manufacturing jobs in the region has shrunk considerably since the 1980s. As a result, the Rochester area has seen little growth in both population and employment in recent decades. In place of manufacturing, health care and higher education have become the most significant industries in the area, with the University of Rochester now the region’s largest employer. Rochester is well known for its world-class optics, imaging, and photonics cluster, which includes a number of small to medium-sized companies often working in partnership with local higher education institutions.

Economic and Demographic Trends
Rochester Buffalo* Syracuse* New York State USA
Population1 1,090,000 1,167,000 662,000 20,201,000 331,449,000
Pop growth, 10-year change1 1.0% 2.8% -0.1% 4.2% 7.4%
GDP, billions1 $64 $70 $42 $1,725 $20,894
Job growth, 5-year change2 -5.5% -6.8% -5.1% -4.1% 1.2%
Median household income1 $60,000 $58,010 $63,000 $72,600 $67,000
Median home price1 $150,000 $160,000 $150,000 $350,000 $250,000
Pop share age 25+ with BA+1 34.2% 34.7% 32.2% 39.4% 35.1%

1 2020

2 2021

* Neighboring Metros

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; IPUMS USA-University of Minnesota. Data retrieved through, Moody's, or directly from source.

Reports & Analysis
Regional Employment Trends (September 16, 2022)
Press Briefing on the Regional Economic Recovery (Dec 17, 2021)
Jaison Abel's Briefing on Economic Conditions in the Region (Nov 5, 2021)
Severe Supply Disruptions Are Impeding Business Activity in the Region (Oct 21, 2021)
Jaison Abel’s Briefing on the New York State Economy During the Pandemic (Sep 30, 2020)
Tracking the Spread of COVID-19 in the Region (Aug 27, 2020)
Jason Bram's Briefing on Regional Economic Conditions During the Pandemic (July 14, 2020)
Finally, Some Signs of Improvement in the Regional Economy (Jun 16, 2020)
New York Fed Surveys: Business Activity in the Region Sees Historic Plunge in April (Apr 16, 2020)
Businesses in the Tri-State Region Struggling to Weather the Coronavirus Outbreak (Mar 30, 2020)
Jaison Abel’s Briefing on the Regional Economy with a Focus on Central New York (Jan 2020)
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