ITHACA, N.Y. — If you live in Danby or Caroline, you might have noticed a few new neighbors moving in. According to 2016 U.S. Census estimates, the two towns rank among the fastest growing in New York State.

In fact, all Tompkins County towns have grown since 2010, although a couple, such as Enfield and Groton, are estimated to have lost population from July 2015 to July 2016 (worth noting, the town of Enfield permitted six new houses in 2015 and 2016, so it’s not exactly in high demand). A full table of the  population estimates of every NYS town can be found here, or in the interactive map here.

Population change rates in NYS towns. The darker the green, the greater the growth rate; the darker the red, the greater the loss rate. Map courtesy of All Over Albany.

On that note, it should be noted that estimates are just that, estimates. If one year shows an abnormal spike or drop, take it with a grain of salt. The estimates are calculated using a baseline of the the county’s growth, and apportioning it out based off of tax forms indicating those moving in and out, and consideration of other details such as birth certificates, death certificates and residential building permits.

Population changes since 2010. Click the table to expand. Note that villages are included in town populations (for example, Trumansburg village is part of Ulysses’s town population).
Population changes since 2010. Click the table to expand. Note that villages are included in town populations (for example, Trumansburg village is part of Ulysses’s town population).

Among the 932 towns in New York State (which for the unfamiliar, function like townships elsewhere), Danby’s growth was the 11th fastest at 6.19%. Caroline was 13th at 6.06%, and Lansing 16th at 5.21%. Canandaigua (kan-en-day-gwah) in exurban Rochester is estimated to have the fastest growth rate, at 12%. The biggest drop was in Georgetown, Madison County, which has lost 16% of its population since 2010.

Granted, when towns only have a few thousand people, it doesn’t take much to spark a big “jump” in the growth rate. But Lansing is worth remarking on. Although the town of Lansing only had a little over 11,000 people to start, it has added the entire population of Freeville, and then some, over the past six years. Ithaca city and Ithaca town added more people outright, but their larger populations mean that the growth was at a slower pace.

Dryden village’s growth is remarkable in low-growth New York State with a pop of over 10% in six years, most of which can be attributed to the 72 units in the first phase of the Poet’s Landing apartment complex. Expect another boost when the 48 units in the second phase of Poet’s Landing open for occupancy later this year. Trumansburg might see a boost of its own late in the decade, if the Hamilton Square housing development goes from concept to concrete.

For comparison’s sake, the nation as a whole has grown about 4.4% since 2010. That means the 3.2% average growth in Tompkins County is somewhat below the national average. It just happens that the county’s growth looks much larger when compared to the population declines seen throughout most of Upstate.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.