As the migration of New York City people to the Hudson Valley has continued — some would say intensified — a lot of traffic is going the other way, too, and not just young people exploring big-city life. The mid-Hudson area has been turning into a region of more and longer commutes. More residents than ever before have been commuting longer distances, many into New York City itself.
Two or three decades ago the dominant pattern was different. Back then, an increasing number of workers in Hudson Valley communities, unable to find good jobs in their home towns, commuted for work to nearby smaller cities. An increased proportion is now commuting more outside their home counties altogether, in many cases going further than the nearest adjacent counties.
That trend is intensifying the relationship between the Hudson Valley and New York City. We see increased ridership on scheduled commuter trains and buses from the exurban counties to the Big Apple. And we all know workers who are now foregoing the trip altogether and are telecommuting instead.
Welcome to the future.
Kingston and Hudson
Let me provide an illustration of what’s been happening, according to data from the federal census bureau. Let’s examine the data for the two small Hudson Valley cities of Kingston and Hudson.
In 2002, slightly more than two-thirds of employed Kingston residents worked in jobs inside Ulster County and the other third in jobs outside the county. In 2011 that proportion was down to almost exactly half inside the county and half outside.
In 2002, 4177 Kingston residents commuted outside Ulster County and 8664 remained inside the county, a two-to-one ratio. In 2011, the corresponding numbers were 5760 outside and 5811 inside Ulster County in 2011 — almost exactly equal.
The shift was even greater in Hudson. In 2002, slightly more than two-thirds of working Hudson residents worked in Columbia County (2156), and the others (956) traveled to work outside their home county. By 2011, the proportions were reversed. Fewer than two in five working Hudson residents (1266) were in jobs inside their home county, and the rest (2028) worked outside.
A substantially increased number of the Kingston commuters of 2011 got their paychecks in Dutchess, Orange, Westchester and the other Hudson Valley counties. But many went further. During the nine years 2002 to 2011, the number of Kingston residents working in New York City (and on Long Island) increased by about 50 percent from 869 to 1349. As of 2011, more than one Kingston worker in every ten got their paychecks from New York City.
Between 2002 and 2011 there was a big jump in commuting from Kingston to the Albany area, too.
It was the same in Hudson, where 427 out of the 3294 working residents got paychecks from New York City in 2011, as opposed to 114 out of 3112 in 2002. These numbers won’t surprise people who sell Hudson real estate for a living.
By the borough
Since there’s so much interest in the alleged Brooklynization of Kingston and Hudson, we decided to divide up by borough where the residents of the two small Hudson Valley cities were getting their work incomes. Here are the results. The numbers don’t quite add up right, but they’re consistent with above totals.
In Kingston, 713 residents worked in Manhattan, as compared to 482 nine years earlier. Some 272 got Brooklyn paychecks in 2011, as compared to 123 in 2002. Queens had 176 in 2011 versus 140 in 2002; Bronx 150 in 2011 versus 95 in 2002; and Staten Island 38 in 2012 versus 29 in 2002.
In Hudson, 133 residents worked in Manhattan in 2011 versus 61 in 2002, the census found. An astounding 170 were reported as working in Brooklyn in 2011 as compared to only 20 nine years earlier. The number of Hudson residents with jobs in Queens jumped to 75 from 14, in Bronx to 22 from 17, and in Staten Island 17 from two.
The census data supports the thesis not just of the increasing economic influence of New York City on the mid-Hudson region’s workers but also of the Brooklynization of Kingston and Hudson. It must be remembered that much of the Brooklyn-to-the-Hudson-Valley media hype has happened in recent years, meaning that the 2011 data is now four years old.
In a future column, we’ll examine the data from a Brooklyn (and from a Manhattan) perspective. After all, that, not the Hudson Valley, is where the jobs are and where the economy is booming. How many people commute from Brooklyn jobs (and Manhattan jobs) to their Hudson Valley residences now as compared to a decade ago? And how many residents of Brooklyn travel to other counties to work?
For more information, consult onthemap.ces.census.gov. The Ulster County government planning office has been helpful in providing guidance to accessing this app.
This weekly column reports on economic trends in the mid-Hudson region. To read past columns go to Ulster Publishing’s hudsonvalleybusinessreview.com.