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Comptroller report outlines problems in rural counties

Sep 28, 2023 12:55 am

Molly Burke reports for the Times Union that a report from New York's comptroller released Sept. 25 says many rural counties face difficult economic and quality of life conditions because of population loss, aging residents, a shrinking labor force, and a lack of access to housing, health care, food, and broadband service. Greene and Delaware counties were among the ten rural counties studied in Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's report. From 2011 to 2021, the ten counties lost 3.4 percent of their population, while during the same period the rest of New York's population rose 4.2 percent. The rural counties are much older too, with their median age rising 6.5 percent from 43 years to 45.8 years, compared to 39.2 years-old in the rest of the state. And the affordable housing crisis can be explained with this sentence, "More than 32 percent of housing units in the rural counties are vacant, due to their use as second homes and vacation residences." New York has a $100 million plan to revitalize rural communities’ downtowns, a $21.7 million rural rental assistance program, and $9.4 million for expanding rural health care access. DiNapoli said, “Demographic and other changes pose difficulties for local and state officials as they look for policies to boost communities and increase connectivity and access to health care and other services.... Yet the shift in remote work and migration from urban areas could offer opportunities for rural communities to grow and thrive.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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