Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Census paints portrait of region 

The latest data on the Village of Woodbury portrays a fairly prosperous, well-educated community: About 45 percent of its adults have at least a bachelor's degree, the median household income is around $103,000, and 21 percent of households own three or more vehicles.

The economic contrast is stark across the border in the neighboring Village of Kiryas Joel. All the numbers on that Hasidic community reflect its emphasis on intense religious study over secular education and careers. Just 4.5 percent of residents 25 years and older hold bachelor's degrees, 60 percent of households have no vehicle at all, and the median income is less than $18,000.

Those figures were part of a deluge of data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau that presents detailed sketches of every place in the United States based on a compilation of survey results from 2005 to 2009.

The American Community Survey captures wide differences among communities in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, particularly between its urban areas and towns that became more affluent during the housing boom of the last decade. The $37,000 median household income in the City of Newburgh, while higher than Kiryas Joel's, was just over half the countywide median and the lowest of the region's four cities. Only about 39 percent of residents over 25 years old had a high school diploma.

In the Town of Hamptonburgh, some 93 percent of adults have at least finished high school, and the median household income was $106,642.

Newburgh also stood out for its vast influx of immigrants. Nearly a quarter of its estimated population of 28,000 was born outside the U.S., mostly in Latin America. About 42 percent of residents are Latino.

The unique cultural practices of Kiryas Joel yield a host of statistical surprises.Its large families mean that more than half the population of roughly 20,000 is under age 14, and the median age is 11.9 — less than a third of the countywide median of 36.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum in this region were the rural Sullivan County towns of Fremont and Forestburgh, where the median age was calculated to be almost 52.

The Village of Washingtonville, a bedroom community for New York City police officers and firefighters, has one of the region's longer average commutes, at 45.1 minutes.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Village of Monticello, at 18.0 minutes, and the Village of New Paltz, at 18.9 minutes. Because of the SUNY college that it hosts, New Paltz also rivaled Kiryas Joel in youthfulness with a median age of 22.3.


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