Richard Florida's The Creativity Exchange shares the bad news. A recent post - By The Numbers... - has a link to the recent US Census Bureau's numbers about population decline in major metropolitan areas - right here.

Playing with the data sets is easy. Four easy spread sheets to ease the pain. Just drilled into the Buffalo/Niagara line. Between July 2005 and 2006 the area lost 7,276 people.

Do the math. 139 people every week or 20 people everyday!

Guess we are in better shape than Cleveland. During the same period Cleveland lost 10,983 residents, about 30/day! Wrote about Cleveland recently - Cleveland in Decline.

I'm at a loss for words...
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smlg.ca said...

What is the base population level of Cleveland? I wonder who is losing more per capita.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind these numbers are "estimates" and not from a census so the accuracy of these numbers is questionable. Why not wait until the 2010 decennial results before getting worked up.

Anonymous said...

Cleveland is about 2 time Buffalo's size which means their equivalent Buffalo loss would be 40 people a day instead of 30

fixBuffalo said...


Said otherwise...on per capita basis both Cleveland and Detroit are hemmoraging at a slower rate than Buffalo...

The Buffalover said...

Cleveland had a city population of over 475Gs as of 2000. So yeah, its losing folks at a notably slower rate than Buffalo.

Buffalo's "Comprehensive Plan," projects the Buffalo-Niagara regional population to drop from 1,170,111 in 2000 to 1,164,835 in 2010 - losing only 6,000 people from the Buffalo-Niagara region over 10 years. Instead, we have apparently lost 32.5 thousand in less than 7 years (the current US Census population estimate for the region is 1,137,520). Even if the census estimate is off, it is unquestionably more accurate than whatever the city projections were expecting.

What the City projected 10 years to happen (the loss of 6,000 from the region) took place in less than 1. That's out of control. I'm amazed.

Anonymous said...

Can filter out some interesting stuff from those spreadsheets.

One thing I just did with 2000-2006 metro areas file was to order by population percent change, then filter so only metros of certain states are shown. Excel makes this pretty easy for two filters (states) at a time, so I looked at NYS vs. a few others.

I ignored sunbelt states (we’ll never compete with the Floridas and Arizonas, just not gonna happen).

But comparing NYS with Tennessee is interesting. There’s 22 metro areas from those two states, twelve of ours and ten of theirs. When ordered by 2000-2006 population growth percent, eight of the top eleven growth metros are from TN:

Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro, TN +10.9%
Knoxville, TN +8.3%
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY +8.0%
Morristown, TN +7.9%
Memphis, TN-MS-AR +5.8%
Cleveland, TN +5.3%
Johnson City, TN +5.2%
Jackson, TN +4.3%
Chattanooga, TN-GA +4.2%
Glens Falls, NY +4.1%
Ithaca, NY +4.0%

…while nine of the bottom eleven are from NYS:

Clarksville, TN-KY +3.6%
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY +3.0%
Kingston, NY +2.8%
New York-Northern NJ-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA +2.7%
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA +1.3%
Syracuse, NY +0.0%
Rochester, NY -0.2%
Utica-Rome, NY -0.9%
Binghamton, NY -1.9%
Elmira, NY -2.7%
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY -2.8%

Are we getting our ass kicked or what? Not surprising that Nashville and Knoxville both made the top ten list by Forbes of best cities for job growth. (Buffalo somehow missed that honor.)

My none-too-original take is that the private sector job market is the main cause and the population numbers the main effect.

So why might businesses be creating jobs so much faster in TN?

One possibility, from: www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2006/0531censustaxdata.htm

The data for fiscal 2004, released today by the Census Bureau, put New York’s per-capita tax burden at $5,260, 53 percent above the national average of $3,447. Connecticut’s tax burden, the second-highest in the nation, was $339 per person lower than New York's.

Clicking that link above shows Tennessee at the opposite end of the per-capita taxation list, way down at #47 of 50 states, with a per-capita burden of $2536 (less than half of NYS first place amount of $5260). Probably many other reasons too, business regulations, etc. The weather might be somewhat of a factor, but should be nowhere near as huge as with sunbelt states.

fixBuffalo said...


thanks for the analysis...despite some very cool anecdotal stories...the trend is pretty grim...

Anonymous said...

Just keep SUNY out in Amherst, let the downtown be empty, and the East Side a planned-segregated African American ghetto (by design from UB), and the trend will not stop.

Detroit's "diversity," like Cleveland's, is not impressive, with Detroit being 80% African American.

African Americans themselves do not want to live in segregated city-core areas any more, but closeted "black power" advocates at the Ctr. for Urban Studies want to keep the East Side black (replacing historic housing and other architecture that could be housing university people and thriving with tacky subsistence-level shacks covered with vinyl).

Combine the rather harsh climate with the "lack of a city center," racial segregation even while rhetoric is constantly praising "diversity," and suburbs with no city to be "sub" to, and people will indeed look for better places!

Anonymous said...

Besides the problems of Buffalo's backward politics, etc., there is a factor operating that is very hard to stop -- viz. the quite deceptive "lure" of places like Phoenix as great places to live "the good life," with swimming pools, palm trees, and all the material wealth one can imagine.

In fact, places like Phoenix suffer from horrid air pollution, Arizona ranks Number One in crime of all 50 states, while ranking number 50 of all 50 in terms of "traffic safety." The "paradise" isn't so great once the "summer" sets in for six months, when nighttime temperatures often only go down to 95 degrees in July and August.

Nevertheless, places like Phoenix are Not racially segregated, they act on innovative urban plans and changes quickly, they spend infinite energy on making things "look good" (like landscaping), and they do not judge people by how long they've lived there but by what they can offer.

There's really a lot that is "deceptive advertising" about these places -- it's as if they are taking off from TV soaps and popular hit shows and trying to create "the lifestyles of the rich and famous" -- if California is too expensive, one can "still get in" in Arizona or other parts of the Southwest.

Cities like Dallas have become truly progressive, with good mass transit, vibrant city core, amazingly strong cultural lives, infinite varieties of neighborhoods and housing, etc.

If Toronto can keep attracting people from all over the world, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit could too -- except that in the U.S. we lack the political structures to "get things done" as extreme "localism" keeps things stuck in a parochial mire.

The "American Way" to deal with problems is to Flee from them -- go to the suburbs, buy in a 'gated community', or Move completely away. A few cities have never let this become their norm -- such as San Francisco -- and these have thrived beyond belief.

"Business as usual" will obviously Not work any more in Buffalo, Detroit, or Cleveland.

Chicago, by the way, is experiencing a renaissance that has received national media attention. It has restored its city core, its neighborhoods, and is extremely ecologically aware. And Chicago is no Sunbelt paradise.

Study of the cities that Do Work is the only way to get ideas that will make these declining places work. Fighting off "old boy" politics and corruption is essential as well.

Anonymous said...

Cities like Dallas have become truly progressive, with good mass transit, vibrant city core, amazingly strong cultural lives, infinite varieties of neighborhoods and housing, etc.

Anon 12:45, I think that statement, while true, is silent about the biggest factors - that the Dallas metro economy for past few decades has created private sector jobs at a much faster pace than Buffalo. Day and night.

That's what facilitates the vibrancy, neighborhoods, cultural factors, etc. If we asked the 100s of people who've moved from Buffalo to Dallas the past few years why, I'm doubting many would say it was because Dallas has a better cultural life and neighborhood variety. I think in almost every case it likely involved a job offer, or prospects for multiple job offers. No doubt quality and diversity of Dallas neighborhoods and cultural life do benefit greatly from cumulative effects of having more people move there for jobs than they have move away, ... but those kinds of things are probably results as I see it, not things that can be created on their own.

Otherwise I agree with many of your points and I'm curious about your opinions....

Setting aside Sunbelt cities such as Phoenix for now (Basically, I think people who really prefer those places are lost causes from Buffalo's perspective.)...
... but fer-cryin-out-loud shouldn't the Buffalo metro and others in upstate NY be able to compete with those in a state like Tennessee????

What do you suppose are tangible reasons all ten, 10/10, metro areas in Tennessee are growing population since 2000 significantly faster than the Buffalo metro? Actually the timeframe for this trend can go back way further than 2000, but that's the posted data we have handy.

Seems Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis must EACH be creating private sector jobs at a dramatically better rate than Buffalo and other upstate NYS cities.

The analysis in my comment above is just too dramatic to be a statistical fluke.

Their whole set of metros, every one of the ten, are KICKING THE BUTT of Buffalo and in almost every case all other NY state metros when if comes to population. And no doubt a similar trend is occurring with some other non-Sunbelt states as well. TN was just a handy example.

I doubt it's mainly the weather (TN arguably a little nicer than ours, but not anywhere near as dramatic a difference as Florida, Arizona, etc.)

I think this is much more of an upstate NY set of problems than anything specific to Buffalo, although we are the worst of the worst so some of it us. And likely similar problems in the Clevelands and Detroits have similar causes.