DiNapoli: Orange County’s Population Growth
Outpaces Rest of State
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today released a report on the Orange County economy showing that population grew by 10 percent since 2000, the fastest in the State. DiNapoli’s report also showed that the county experienced strong economic growth with significant gains in jobs and wages, but warned that the current economic slowdown may adversely affect the local economy.
“The story of Orange County in the past decade is all about progress and prosperity,” DiNapoli said. “Above average job growth, low unemployment and decreasing crime levels make the county a great place to live and work. However, despite a doubling of home prices between 2000 and 2006, there’s been a slowing in the past two years. But the county’s well-diversified economy should help Orange County ride out whatever difficulties might lie ahead.”
According to the DiNapoli report, Orange County’s population increased by 34,142 to 377,169 since 2000 - a 10 percent gain. Although population grew for all demographics, the Hispanic population grew by 45.9 percent, the fastest in the county. At the same time, jobs increased by 7.4 percent with the majority of jobs generated in the trade, transportation and utilities sectors.
The county’s 4.3 percent average unemployment rate in 2007 was well below the statewide average, but the rate increased to 5.1 percent during the first two months of 2008. The rise in median home prices has also begun to slow, a reflection of the slowdown in the real estate market nationally. As home values rose, so did the reliance on subprime mortgages, which accounted for 29.5 percent of all mortgages in 2006, up from 12.6 percent in 2004.
Other highlights of DiNapoli’s Economic Snapshot of Orange County include:
- Since 2000, wages have grown every year, rising by a total of 33.5 percent between 2000 and 2006;
- In 2006, the median home price was $309,000, the seventh-highest among counties outside of New York City;
- Three hospitals employ 1,000 or more people, but most businesses in the county employ fewer than 90 people; and
- The planned ten-year $500 million expansion of Stewart International Airport creates several opportunities for economic growth.
Click here for a copy of the report.