Capital Region’s Minority Population Grows, Fastest in Saratoga and Warren Counties
The Capital Region’s minority population has grown by 11.5 percent over the past five years and it is increasing most rapidly in Saratoga and Warren counties. Minorities already represent a quarter of the population of one county in the region and a second is on track to cross that mark in the near future, according to a Center for Economic Growth analysis of U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
By 2015, the eight-county region had 183,783 minorities, or 16.9 percent of the region’s total population. Five years earlier, they had accounted for 15.3 percent of the region’s population. Minority counts are calculated as the sum of people of non-white races and Hispanic or Latino populations. More than two-thirds (64.2 percent) of the region’s minorities lived in Albany and Schenectady counties in 2015. They accounted for 25.8 percent of the former’s population and 24.9 percent of the latter’s.
Between 2011 and 2015, the region added 18,961 minorities. Two-thirds (62.7 percent) of that growth came from Albany and Schenectady counties. However, Saratoga County had the highest growth rate of 19.8 percent, followed by Warren County at 16 percent. Saratoga County was also the region’s only county that saw its white population increase during the five-year period, but only by 1.1 percent.
Among the region’s non-Hispanic/Latino population during the five-year period, blacks or African Americans grew by 2.7 percent to 70,954 and Asians grew by 23.5 percent to 35,281. The region’s Hispanic or Latino population (all races) grew by 15.8 percent to 48,229.
Engaging Minorities in the Labor Force
The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area had a total labor force participation rate of 65.6 percent in 2015. The rate was 65.7 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 68.5 percent for Hispanics and Latinos of any race. However, the rate for blacks and African Americans was lower than both at 65.2 percent, according to U.S. Census estimates. With the area’s ranks of minorities growing and its labor force shrinking, CEG believes it is important for industry, academia and government to engage this population and help it gain employment.
Steps the region have taken recently – some with funding received through Capital Region Economic Development Council – to achieve this goal include the following:
> Schenectady County Community College, in partnership with Albany Can Code, established a software coding program for non-traditional students.
> For minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses in Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer counties, the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region is developing a no-cost training program and microenterprise loan funds.
> The Pathways Project for Advance Manufacturing, a study CEG performed for the Capital Region Workforce Development Boards, identified the area’s growing immigrant population as presenting an opportunity for manufacturers in their efforts to maintain a pipeline of skilled workers. CEG and its partners are exploring options to develop an online tool to help these and other prospective workers attain region-specific skills to enter and advance in the manufacturing sector.
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