When outsiders hear “New York,” they tend to think of bright lights and big city.
And when it comes to the economy, they aren’t that far off. The New York City metropolitan area outpaced every other metro area in the country in 2012, generating a staggering $1.3 trillion in GDP.
But what’s behind that growth? To find out, we had to step outside the concrete canyons of Manhattan and into more suburban places like White Plains and Long Island’s two counties. There, the young-worker population and income are growing the fastest.
To find more New York places “on the rise,” we analyzed three factors: growth of the working-age population, employment and income from 2009 to 2012.
Here’s what our top places had in common:
- Greater New York City is thriving. The majority of our top 20 places came from the White Plains or Nassau-Suffolk metro areas.
- Income is increasing. New York had one of our highest income-growth rates to date: 14 of the top 20 places grew by more than 10%.
- Employment growth was inconsistent. While New York’s employment gains outpaced neighboring New Jersey, unemployment rates varied greatly among our top cities, even those near each other.
Overall New York — after weathering the recession slightly better than most — appears to be in the midst of shedding the remnants of the economic downturn. The latest economic indicators show a drop in the state’s unemployment rate from 6.6% to 6.4% (July 2014 data), marking the 21st consecutive month of private sector job growth.
Despite that good news, employment indicators statewide have been inconsistent.
By the numbers:
- New York’s unemployment rate never once broke 9% during the recession, yet:
- New York’s current unemployment rate of 6.4% remains higher than the national average of 5.9%.
- The picture is cloudier in Bronx and Kings (Brooklyn) counties, which came in at 11.2% and 8.6% unemployment, respectively.
- The best places for employment could be found in Westchester, Suffolk and Rockland counties, all with 5.5% unemployment, as demonstrated by the strength of places such as Haverstraw, Elmwood and North Bay Shore.
Employment in the New York metro area is largely driven by finance and health care. For example, in 2012, New York alone was responsible for 18.4% of the U.S.’s finance and insurance production, including handling one-third of the country’s securities trading. In Suffolk County on Long Island, there has been major growth in the health care and telecommunications industries, such as the North Shore-LIJ Health System and Cablevision.
Above all, where New York excelled most was in income growth. The state, which ranks fourth in per capita income, saw big gains in income between 2009 and 2012.
The average income growth rate on our list was 6.7%, but two places stood out:
- 30.6% increase for Kiryas Joel, a unique village in suburban Orange County that is home to more than 20,000 people, nearly all part of an ultra-orthodox sect of Satmar Hasidic Jews.
- 24.0% jump in Manorville on Long Island’s East End.
Rockland County, represented in our top spots with Haverstraw and Spring Valley, had one of the fastest growing economies in the state, with income growing 3.6% from 2011 to 2012 alone.
Westchester County, which has the second-highest median income in the state, continued to grow from gains such as 18.8% in income growth in Mount Kisco.
Here’s our list of the top 20 cities and places on the rise in New York. Take a look at our methodology below to see how we calculated U.S. Census Bureau data to find our top cities.
Share your thoughts in the comments section, and tell us why you think your city deserved (or didn’t deserve) a spot on our list.
|Working-age population growth 2009-2012||Employment in 2012||Employment growth 2009-2012||Median income in 2012||Median income growth 2009-2012||Overall growth score|
|4||Rocky Point CDP||10,475||31.22%||65.80||-1.50%||58,331||4.15%||64.68|
|9||Dix Hills CDP||21,154||4.75%||63.00||2.44%||90,420||14.04%||59.71|
|10||Mount Sinai CDP||9,119||32.78%||61.20||-5.70%||79,170||0.89%||58.87|
|11||North Bay Shore CDP||14,927||16.85%||65.50||-0.30%||38,633||6.60%||58.85|
|17||Kings Park CDP||14,246||14.12%||59.90||-0.50%||66,259||7.07%||57.31|
The overall score for each city or place was derived from these measures:
1. Population growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the working-age population (16+) comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
2. Employment growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the percent of employed residents comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
3. Income growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the median earnings for workers comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
We surveyed 188 communities in New York with populations of 10,000 or more.
Long Island, New York, photo via Shutterstock.