County sees slight population increase in 2017 estimate

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The increase was slight, but Oneida County’s population rose from 2016 to 2017 for the first time in at least seven years, says a new U.S. Census Bureau report.

The county’s population as of July 1, 2017 was 231,332, up by 59 from the 231,273 total at the same point in 2016, according to Census Bureau 2017 estimates issued last week.

In the 2010 Census, Oneida County’s population was 234,878. Since then, it has gradually declined in each of the Census Bureau’s annual population estimates until 2017. Even with the small upswing last year, the latest estimate reflects an overall decline since 2010 of 3,546 residents, equating to a 1.5 percent drop.

Regarding the higher 2017 estimate, “I would call it more of a flattening....But it is an increase,” Dale Miller, a principal planner for Oneida County and the head of the Oneida and Herkimer counties Census Data Affiliate office, said Wednesday. “Population estimates appear to be flattening for quite a few...upstate counties” largely because of favorable “changes in domestic migration” which reflects “people that move into or out of a given area.”

The trends are “starting to even out some” and are “more in our favor than they have been in the past,” Miller observed. It previously has been happening for some larger counties, and “we’re starting to also see it here,” he said.

The more positive domestic migration trends for Oneida County have been over the past two to three years, even though the population estimate did not rise until 2017, said Miller. Some population totals “may still see a decline” even though some of the numerical indicators are getting better, he said, explaining that otherwise the rates may have “gone down even more.”

Other area counties did not share in Oneida County’s slight residential gains in 2017. As of July 1 last year, population estimates included Madison County, 70,965 in 2017, down by 576 from 2016; Herkimer County, 62,240 in 2017, down by 259; Lewis County, 26,551, down by 95; Onondaga County, 466,635, down by 1,237. All have declined in overall population since the 2010 Census as well.

Among upstate counties that have gained residents are Albany and Erie. Albany County’s 2017 total was 309,612, compared to 309,080 in 2016 and 304,204 in 2010. Erie County’s 2017 population estimate of 925,528 was up from 923,116 in 2016 and 919,040 in 2010.

When asked about the potential significance going forward for Oneida County’s 2017 population gain, Miller commented “I wouldn’t want to pin too much on it” at this point. But he acknowledged it is promising, and said there are hopes it will “continue...positive.”

The new Census Bureau estimates also included statewide populations, with New York showing growth overall. The state gained 13,113 residents from 2016 to 2017, for a new total of 19,849,399. That reflects an overall increase of 471,297 from the 2010 total of 19,378,102, or 2.4 percent.

Among changes in Oneida County’s population estimates by the Census Bureau over the past seven years, plus the 2010 Census:

2017 — 231,332; 2016 — 231,273; 2015 — 232,014; 2014 – 233,229; 2013 — 233,771; 2012 — 233,975; 2011 — 234,341; 2010 — 234,878.

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