May 3 2017
Economic Analysis

Capital Region Population Growth Holds Steady

The Capital Region last year avoided the steep population losses that afflicted the majority of New York’s regions, but it did so by increasingly relying on international migration. In 2016, the eight-county Capital Region had an estimated population of 1,085,386, marking flat growth from the previous year (-13 people) and a 0.2 percent increase over the past five years (+2,101 people).

Eight-County Performance

Between 2012 and 2016, growth in the Capital Region was limited to Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties, which saw a cumulative population gain of 7,363. But that was largely offset by a total decline of 5,262 in Columbia, Greene, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties. Columbia County experienced the steepest population decline during the five-year period: -1,550, or -2.5 percent.


Adversely impacting the region’s headcount was an anemic natural population increase of 614 – almost half of what this figure was five years earlier. In 2016, births region-wide fell to a five year low (10,891) and deaths rose to their highest number in an even longer period (10,277).

Meanwhile, the flow of people from other countries has accelerated, increasing 19.2 percent over the past five years to 2,762). But the flow of people out of the region has been moving twice as fast, increasing 48.3 percent to -2,882 over the same period.

Statewide & National Performance

Out of New York’s 10 regions, the Capital Region ranked third for both its one-year and five-year growth rates, trailing the New York City and Mid-Hudson regions. During the five-year period, six regions lost 59,330 people.


In 2016, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had an estimated population of 881,839, up 0.1 percent from the previous year and up 0.7 percent from five years earlier. For five-year growth, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA ranked 17th in the Northeast and 254th in the nation. This area consists of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Schoharie counties.


Geographic Mobility

On top of attracting people from other countries, the Capital Region is attracting many people from other states. In 2015, 4,971 people moved to the eight counties from other countries and 17,052 also moved to the region from other states, resulting in an out-of-state inflow of 22,023. That was the fifth greatest amount among the state’s 10 regions, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

The region is also strongly attracting New Yorkers on the move. In 2015, 44,465 people moved to one of the region’s eight counties from a different county in the state – the third highest level in the state, trailing only the New York City and Mid-Hudson regions. People who moved to a county in the Capital Region from another county in the state (not exclusively outside the region) accounted for 4.1 percent of the region’s total population, the second highest level in the state.

Compared to the 100 most populous MSAs, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA likewise ranked high for its share of people who moved to one of the area’s five counties from another county in the state. That accounted for 4.2 percent of the area’s population – the ninth highest share among the largest 100 metros.   

Talent Connect

Many of the people moving to or within the Capital Region are highly skilled workers and their families. Talent Connect program helps employers attract and retain talent by providing:

  • Career support and professional networking for spouses/partners who come with a new hire;
  • Community integration support;
  • Cultural transitioning tools; and
  • Professionally guided tours.

As of March 31, 2017, Talent Connect was assisting 46 relocated or soon-to-be relocated professional new hires of CEG investors with community resources and other Talent Connect services. Of those 46 new hires, 25 have requested career support services for their spouse/partner, and eight of them are new to the U.S. and using our cultural transitioning services.

All CEG members have access to Talent Connect services. To schedule a New Hire Navigation, or to learn how Talent Connect can help your business attract or retain skilled workers, call Program Manager Joanne Bucher at 518-465-8975, ext.222 or email her at Learn more about Talent Connect here.

Don’t miss these insights into the trends that are shaping the Capital Region’s economy. Sign up for CEG’s e-news and follow us on:

Funding Partners