July 14 2017
General,Regional/County Profiles

Where’s NY’s Fastest Growing City, Town and Village? Hint: In the Capital Region

The Capital Region pulled off a population hat trick in 2016, housing the state’s fastest-growing city, town and village on a year-over-year basis: Cohoes, Malta and Waterford, respectively, according to a Center for Economic Growth analysis of U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

For a second consecutive year, Cohoes has ranked as New York’s fastest growing city, experiencing 2.3 percent year-over-year population growth by Jul 1, 2016. Two other Capital Region cities made the state’s top 10 list of fastest annually growing cities: Glens Falls, ranking third with a 0.38 percent gain over the year, and Saratoga Springs, ranking eighth with a 0.1 percent gain.

Even more, just across the Mohawk River from Cohoes, the Village of Waterford emerged as the state’s fastest-growing village, with a 6.4 percent annual population increase. The Town of Malta’s population also grew over the year by 5.5 percent – the highest year-over rate for a New York town.


Over the year, Cohoes’s population rose by 379 to 16,883. This follows 2015’s 279-person annual gain. The city’s growth has partly been fueled in part by the development of several large luxury and affordable apartment and condominium complexes around the city’s waterfront areas.

For example, in fall 2015 the 72-unit Lion Heart Residences opened, and the first phase of the 408-unit Residences at Lexington Hills – Cohoes’ largest apartment project – was completed in early 2016. Last November Bonacquisti Brothers Construction announced plans to convert the historic Cohoes Hotel into a 26-unit apartment building and a month later Prime Companies broke ground on the 165-unit Hudson Square apartment complex on Van Schaick Island.

Like Cohoes, Waterford benefits from having an entranceway to Peebles Island State Park. In 2016 this 191-acre park experienced a 35.6 percent year-over increase in attendance, totaling 137,858, according to data from New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The village’s population last year increased by 131 to 2,167, following a 68-person gain in 2015.

Capital Region Towns and Cities

Between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016, populations increased in 22 and decreased in 96 Capital Region towns and cities. Only three of the region’s 10 cities – Cohoes, Gens Falls and Saratoga Springs – saw their populations grow in 2016. However, five cities experienced annual losses below 1 percent. They were Albany (-0.2 percent), Rensselaer (-0.3 percent), Troy (-0.3 percent), Watervliet (-0.7 percent) and Schenectady (-0.7 percent). Out of the region’s growing towns and cities, eight were in Saratoga County, five were in Rensselaer County, two were in Albany, Greene, Schenectady and Warren counties and one in Columbia County.

Downtown Revitalization Initiative

The annual population gains of Cohoes, Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs underscore the importance of revitalizing downtowns and, when applicable, connecting them to waterfront areas. To support investments to those ends, New York last year launched a $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Under this initiative and through a competitive process, one community in each of the state’s 10 regions would be awarded $10 million to advance “specific catalytic, implementation-ready projects that align with the community’s vision for the revitalization of their unique downtown area and are consistent with the DRI’s program goals.”

Glens Falls was named the Capital Region’s DRI Round 1 winner, beating nine other Capital Region cities and villages. Half of the Glens Falls’ DRI award would go toward a market on South Street that would strengthen the city’s connection to regional agriculture resources and provide opportunities for local retailers, artisans, restaurateurs and farmers. Other projects include the relocation of SUNY Adirondack’s culinary school in downtown, streetscape improvements, the development of a mile-long public arts trail through downtown and more.

 Applications for DRI Round 2, through which another $100 million would be awarded to 10 communities statewide, were due June 14. Awards will be announced in the coming months.

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