(WETM) – New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday unveiled a decline in population among many Southern Tier counties.
According to the 2020 US Census, Steuben County saw a 5.5 percent decline in population with a net loss of 5,406 residents since 2010. There are still over 93,500 people in Steuben County, which averages to over 67 people per square mile.
Chemung County saw a similar drop in population with a 5.3 percent decline, or over 4,600 residents since the last census in 2010. More than 84,000 residents reside in the county, which is one of the densest among other Southern Tier communities at 206.6 people per square mile.
Schuyler County also saw a decline in population, however, it was about half the rate of its neighboring counties to the south. Schuyler County saw a decline in about 400 residents since 2010, which came out to a 2.4 percent drop.
Schuyler County is now New York’s second-least populated county with 12,000 more residents than last-place Hamilton County and 7,000 fewer residents than Yates County.
Steuben County ranked 30th and Chemung County 32nd among the 62 counties.
One of the few Southern Tier counties that reported a population increase was Thompkins County, which reported a 4.1 percent increase in residents, or about 4,100 people.
The Census also found that Southern Tier counties are becoming more diverse. Steuben County reported a 9.9 percent decrease in “white alone” population, while Chemung County declined by 10.5 percent.
New York’s total decline in “white alone” population finished down 12.5 percent.
The drop in population could mean the loss of a congressional district when the state’s redistricting commission draws new districts this year.
As a whole, New York state reported population growth of 4.2 percent with seven downstate counties reporting over one million residents.
Counties in the Northern Tier also reported population declines with Tioga County reporting a 2.2 percent (approx. 900 resident) decline and Bradford County losing 4.2 percent (approx. 2,600) of their residents. Tioga County’s population ranked 51st out of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, while Bradford County finished 41st, narrowly passing Pike County by 1,400 residents.
The Keystone State reported more than 13 million residents, a 2.4 percent increase in population since 2010.