Friday, May 26, 2017
More than three quarters of all municipalities in Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties lost population over the last six years, according to new Census Bureau estimates that reaffirm the slow-but-steady declines evident in most places around the region in annual counts since the last census.
Out of 87 towns, villages and cities in those three counties, 67 have had net population decreases since 2010. That includes every municipality in Sullivan County and all but three - the town and village of New Paltz and the Town of Ulster - in Ulster County.
The only significant gains occurred in pockets of Orange County, which has grown overall by around 6,400 people to just more than 379,000 as of July 1, 2016, the date the Census Bureau used for its latest population snapshots. Orange's biggest increases were in the Village of Kiryas Joel - said to have grown by about 2,900 people since the last census - and the Town of New Windsor, which has added a little more than 2,000 people. The Town of Wallkill ranked third with an increase of almost 1,300.
Modest decreases were much more common over those six years. The same five municipalities that had the largest losses as of July 2015 held the same distinction after another year of population shifts, with declines continuing in each of those places. The Town of Warwick again showed the region's largest decrease since 2010, although its drop of 783 people appears to be largely the result of the closure of a prison with 572 inmates in 2011.
The same handful of communities continue to defy the general population trend. Kiryas Joel, where steady growth is driven by the Hasidic community's unique dynamics rather than larger economic forces, had a population of about 23,000, an increase of about 1,000 people, or 4.6 percent, from the previous year, according to the data. Built into those numbers, though, was an unexplained adjustment in previous estimates that lowered each annual count by around 750 people starting in 2011.
New Windsor was one of a few other growing places whose count grew significantly between the 2015 and 2016 estimates. That northeastern Orange County town was estimated to have added a little more than 700 people, bringing its population to 27,272 as of last July.
And yet in percentage terms, the places in the region with the greatest growth in the last six years were the villages of Montgomery and Maybrook, both in the Town of Montgomery, judging from the Census Bureau's estimates. Adding several hundred residents to places that small made both look like boomtowns in a gradually shrinking upstate. Montgomery's population is said to have grown about 20 percent in that time; Maybrook's rose by 16 percent.
Census Bureau figures compiled by the Orange County Planning Department indicate the Village of Montgomery issued building permits for 568 multi-family housing units from 2005 to 2013, which may account for much of that village's recent growth.
In Maybrook's case, Mayor Dennis Leahy said the recent construction of senior-living complexes - including the 70-unit Bluestone Commons - and a subdivision of single-family houses on Logan's Way has driven up the tiny village's population, which was 3,428 in the latest count.
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