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Buffalo: A Smarter, Wealthier City

By Gregory Conley: 
Quite often we hear from people of a decreasing population, employment, and eroding tax base. We hear that Buffalo, NY is in the past and can’t come back. We hear it is bleeding a wound that will never heal.
Well it’s time to shut those people up.
Recently, I have been using two great tools to examine different geographic data sets. One is a great mapping system through the US Census online, called On The Map. This system allows users to analyze employment within a variety of divisions from region to census tract. The other tool I used is Telestrian (Telestrian.com), an amazing tool that easily compiles data on an assortment of topics from education to income, to gender to age, to much more. I focused primarily on the Buffalo’s city proper, and found some very positive results.
It’s not the wealthy people leaving the City.
In Buffalo and in other Great Lakes cities, we often try to appease and entice the wealthy to stay and/or move to the City proper. We worry so much about losing this higher income bracket, we may lose sight of what is in front of our face.
Low income residents are the ones moving out of the City, Big Time.
Below are two maps of employed residents based on where they live from 2002 and 2010. As you can see, most of the areas east of Main with higher employment numbers rapidly eroded away in this 8 year span. Click on graphics to enlarge.
Employment-based-on-home-Buffalo-NY.jpg
Now let’s look at lower income, which are workers making $1,250 per month or less.
Employment-based-on-home-making-less-than-1250-per-month.jpg
As you can see, areas east of Main Street have rapidly eroded away. Most notably, Polonia, Emerson, Parade Park, and Grider neighborhoods have been vacated by this income bracket. And as you can also see, this income bracket is not concentrating in new areas, but purely leaving the City.
It should also be noted that this is a similar, yet less marked pattern for those who make $1,251 to $3,332 per month.
Employment-between-1251-and-3332.jpg
Finally, where are all the wealthy people living? Well, that’s getting bigger.
_over-3333-per-month.jpg
Wealth has stayed and grown in places like North Park and Starin in North Buffalo, but  wealth is also expanding toward Downtown. The traditional neighborhood, Bryant is getting wealthier, connecting with Allentown, and moving toward the Ellicott rectangle of Downtown. In more modern nomenclature, the Elmwood Village is expanding and getting wealthier, moving south.
So, as you can see, Buffalo residents are getting wealthier. While slightly verbose in explanation, the people leaving are low income. It should be asserted that low income residents are not really moving out due to gentrification, but other reasons such as violence, education, or loss of employment. However, considering the Buffalo-Niagara Metro evaded much of the horrors of the Great Recession, I have serious doubts that people left the city solely due to lack of employment.
Buffalo is smarter.
As we see this marked decrease in lower income residents in the City proper, the other question is education attainment. Are the people leaving intellectually valuable, and is the City of Buffalo failing to find employment for this workforce?
Unfortunately, no.
While blame could be doled out in a number of ways as to why certain neighborhoods lack educational attainment, this is to show by what number of the population has the education attainment of the City changed.
Using Telestrian (Telestrian.com), I compiled data sets, comparing educational attainment from 2000 to 2010. Below is a chart, showing the difference of residents in major New York Cities who have less than a high school degree from 2000 to 2010.
Change of Population with Less than High School Attainment, Major Cities in New York
Change of Population with Less than High School.jpgHere, Buffalo is shedding the highest number of this education attainment bracket at a whopping -37.05%! It should also be said, whether positive or negative, that Bufalo is shedding those with high school degrees, and those with some college experience. However those numbers are are -10.47% and -2.31% respectively. Not nearly as drastic as the change listed above.
For those who say there should be comparisons of metropolitan areas, it won’t
be included here, but the metro is not losing nearly as much residents with less than a high school degree. This means that those residents of this bracket are probably moving into first ring suburbs such as Tonawanda, Amherst, and Cheektowaga.
While Buffalo is losing the less educated, The Queen City is gaining with those who have Bachelor’s and Graduate or Professional Degrees. Outside of New York City, Buffalo has the highest increase of residents with Bachelor’s Degrees from 2000 to 2010.
Change of Population with a Bachelor’s Degree, Major Cities in New York 
Bachelor's Degree.jpg
And let’s also compare the city proper to other Great Lakes cities in terms of Bachelor’s degree attainment.
Change of Population with a Bachelor’s Degree, Major Cities in Great Lakes 
Bachelor's Degree in Rust Belt.jpg
Buffalo is now breaking away from Detroit and Cleveland, and moving toward Pittsburgh and Columbus.
What now?
One of our more modern nicknames for Buffalo is the City of No Illusions. However what I see is that there are people in and around this city perpetuating a damaging illusion of failure and mediocrity. When in actuality, Buffalo is on the verge of a comeback. It’s not a Detroit. It’s a Pittsburgh.
Buffalo is breaking from the Rust Belt, and joining the ranks of research centers to become a smarter city. It sees a role in multiple industrial clusters such as life sciences, advanced machinery, transportation and logistics due its international border, and also a potentially new cluster forming from the University at Buffalo’s establishment of a Center for Excellence in Nanomaterials. The Queen City has also taken advantage of its cross border trade to move toward becoming a center of commercialization for products developed in the Greater Toronto Area. And most importantly, people are starting to realize that they want to not only work in this kind of environment, but want to live there too.
Buffalo is on a comeback, are you a part of it?
Gregory Conley is a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education in English as a Second Language Education, M.Ed. His interests include expanding equality to access in education, learning about the ethnic histories of Buffalo, and urban planning. If you missed Greg’s last article on Crowd Sourcing, click here.

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Written by queenseyes

queenseyes

Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

8170 posts
  • Up and coming

    Great post, i’d personally classify it as one of the top 5 best articles I’ve ever read on here. It’s also interesting to see what we’ve all known for some time now about the demographic change in the city. Unfortunately though, I know tons of College grads and young professionals who live in the city that will most likely move out when they have kids. I’ve said it on here before, but schools are the single biggest factor holding the city back. I agree that it’s not all the schools fault and its hard to make wine out of lake water, but schools can do more than they are to help educate the poor. That mixed with foot patrols and more of a focus on quality of life issues could transform Buffalo over night.

  • bernicebuffalove

    Great job putting this together, Greg!
    Hopefully continued progress, success stories and statistics like this can fix the “broken” people who still think its 1980 in Buffalo.

  • buffknut

    I don’t agree that Buffalo is on a comeback. The burden of excessive, ridiculously high NY State taxes, the corruption, the anti-business climate, etc. – all are significant impediments to progress.
    Also, stating that because there are more people with college degrees is a valid indication fails to consider how worthless so many college degrees are. Take for example the degree the author of this article has. It is totally useless in a global economy.

  • flyguy

    Sorry but the Buffalo area is losing a good portion of a young generation to other areas. Whats the median age in WNY? Buffalo doesnt strike me as a youthful city or area and certainly it isnt attracting youth in mass numbers. Will WNY have a younger generation to replace the older generations? College grads leaving for other cities also dont have much income but does that devalue their significance to the area? Arent they the future homeowners, etc? I know many with bachelors and masters degrees born and raised in WNY and educated through college there that now live elsewhere. For every 3.4 or however many leave per day from WNY to elsewhere thats one less house filled and over days thats a half a block of residents and then a full block gone. It results in a urban- physical disaster and mass vacancy. Money or no money you need demand to fill spaces. Buffalo still has a negative perception nationwide. It comes up in casual conversations to this day and is truly fruustrating but remains true. First thing a non northeasterner says is I dont know how you lived with all that snow or I bet you feel better to have been from there…as in its better to be away from there isnt it. When Buffalo loses its people in mass numbers it also loses families with deep roots in the area who helped build the place and culture there. To some extent I hope Buffalo doesnt become rich, uppity and exclusionary.

  • flyguy

    And one other thing. Those low income folks that are leaving are they public assistance decade after decade low income or working low income?

  • DTK2OD

    “Take for example the degree the author of this article has. It is totally useless in a global economy.”
    A Master’s Degree in ESL is useless in a global economy? I’m sorry, I was under the impression that English functioned primarily as the lingua franca in most international business situations, but then again what do I know… I only have a useless Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Linguistics 🙂

  • 300miles

    If the above data were true, I’m curious then why Buffalo keeps showing up as #3 or #2 on the list of poorest large cities in the US.
    (Actually we may not even be considered for those lists in the future if our population drops below 250,000)

  • timvanman

    as interesting as this data is, one must look at REGIONS not city propers. It will give everybody a much better understanding as to how to rank the regions. You are assuming the poor who leave the city are leaving the region. That may not be the case.

  • elmdog

    Great article, its nice to see something that looks positive and shows a real change in the population leaving…If you have medical, Healthcare, banking and sciences as in Industry in the city you will start to see people staying..I know the weather is a deterrent but if someone doesnt want to live here cause it snows, then we dont want them….

  • elmdog

    In regards to poorest cities annual list and Buffalo’s ranking in the Top 5 every year….Its all based on square mileage and the city limits – Buffalo is one of the smallest cities in the country in terms of square mileage- we arent even in the Top 150 based on size – So I think that ranking cities wealth based on city limits is ridiculous….Buffalo, NY is 40.5 square miles while Phoenix Arizona is 500 square miles for example….WHy would it make sense to list wealth based on such Skewed paramters….? If we were to use metros I imagine we would be much better off…Or if we were to take an actual average square mileage for all cities and base it off this…..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_area

  • rb09

    Becoming a cog in Buffalo’s revival is a lot more fulfilling than praying for its resurrection from a neighboring state’s barstool… !

  • QB Bills

    This is an excellent and very well written article indeed! I can’t say that it feels like a relief to hear that the poorer residents, primarily on the East Side, are the folks who are by and large contributing to the city’s population loss. Hopefully more can be done in the coming years to secure the future of the overlooked areas of this city so that we can eliminate that statistic as well.

  • Up and coming

    “Sorry but the Buffalo area is losing a good portion of a young generation to other areas. Whats the median age in WNY? Buffalo doesnt strike me as a youthful city or area and certainly it isnt attracting youth in mass numbers”
    I read an article a while back saying that Buffalo’s median age was something around 34, which was down from 36 or 37 from the last census, which would argue that Buffalo is actually getting younger. But the counter argument is that all the old people are dieing, so I guess in the end its rather subjective.

  • NBuffguy

    It’s a well known fact that at least 92% of statistics are completely fabricated.

  • Up and coming

    Screw’em, I hope they all move out of state. The only problem is they’ve errorded certain neighborhoods so bad that they’re now able to live cheaply in first ring suburbs. Hopefully home owners in West Seneca, Sloan, Cheektowaga, South Buffalo make a stand and keep their nieghborhoods nice so property values stay high so the poor cant move in.

  • AKBuffalo

    I like the comparison to Pittsburgh. I often hear that Buffalo has more to offer than a Cleveland or Detroit and is further along in its revitalization. Sure there are weak spots, but block by block, I’ve never seen improvements as good as we’ve been seeing lately. Whether it’s Hotel Lafayette, Canalside, or the Larkin District (and so many more), you didn’t see these efforts a few years ago. Before last summer, I can’t remember the last time I was excited to hang out downtown with absolutely nothing going on but beautiful scenery.

  • Buffalogni

    Wow, real data and everything. Great article.
    This is why I have fundamental problems with welfare. Welfare subsidizes a person’s unsustainable lifestyle in an area where there are no jobs for them, and prevents a company in a growing area from having an employee. On top of that, the whole transaction costs taxpayers money that would be better spent investing in the local economy.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    What nonsense, the poor are simply a sympton of a much greater problem, the growing inequity of wealth that has destroyed the American dream and greatly damaged our society. As for those neighborhoods that “they” (as in black I assume) have eroded, has it ever occurred to you that it was the landlords and other speculators that allowed these properties to decline while milking them for every last dollar? Do you realize the working poor are now poorer than at any time in the past 30 years? Do you know that wages have been driven down to a level where even a two wage earner family earns less than one earner made in 1970. BTW, those low wage earners qualify for government assistance, basically we as taxpayers subsidize employees so business can avoid paying a decent wage. Do you understand that our government has enabled the wealthy for the past few decades at the expense of the working poor and middle class? Just a few questions as you seem to be quite naive.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Yeah, corporate welfare is indeed a drain on our economy. Time for big business to pay their own way, we can’t afford to carry them anymore.

  • Up and coming

    “What nonsense, the poor are simply a sympton of a much greater problem”
    …..yeah lazyness.

  • Buffalogni

    Sorry to disrupt your “gotcha comment” but I agree with you.

  • Up and coming

    The U.S has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, how much more would you want them to pay? Something you’re obviously nieve about.

  • grad94

    nice piece of number-crunching!

  • Black Rock Lifer

    If you were more informed you would know that few if any corporations pay the full rate and in fact many pay no tax at all. The corporate tax system is rigged to favor the most influential and politically connected, I realize that might be a suprise to you. Many corporations even recieve direct handouts from the taxpayers, as in corporate welfare. Keep putting the Fox spin on things, the entitled class needs your support.

  • benfranklin

    Close to twenty years ago, when we first started to see robots on assembly lines, people wondered where all the jobs would go.
    It may not have happened because of robots, but I can see with the online businesses I work with, a tremendous drop off in the number of employees needed. If the customer is plugging in a credit card number, and the item is shipped electronically (be it an app or pdf), you can scale the enterprise without hiring more than a few people.
    A few years ago, those on the left would say workers were being exploited, now, if you don’t have some technical skill, you’re just not needed. I know this isn’t the case with all businesses, but the successful ones are certainly driving the income inequality you so often like to point out. It would seem a larger number of unskilled workers are chasing fewer jobs. Supply and demand would say that’s not a good place to be.
    I’m not assigning blame to the poor when I say that, it just seems to be the new reality. I don’t see much middle ( as in middle class). I see entrepreneurs, programmers, network analysts, SEO experts, marketers, developers … and no such thing as an assembly line.

  • Up and coming

    You’re right, it’s always someone else’s fault. Not cutting your grass is someone else’s fault, not walking on the sidewalk is someone else’s fault, no showing up to school is someone else’s fault, having multiple children by different father’s is someon else’s fault, making poor decisions is someon else’s fault. You really have a bottom up type mentality dont you?

  • Black Rock Lifer

    I wonder how much experience you have with the poor? so far you seem to be quite ignorant of the reality. I have lived over 50 years in Black Rock, was a landlord for many years and have been involved in my community for over 30 years. My wife has a Masters in Social Work and continues to work as an advocate for the elderly and poor.
    Contrary to your narrow view most poor people work, they work hard at jobs most people don’t want. They are paid crap wages so many work 2 jobs to make ends meet. Most poor people want to get ahead but our society doesn’t value menial work and does not compensate those workers at a fair or reasonable wage.
    As for being lazy, look no farther than the rich, many have never held a job or contributed anything to society but live off the wealth their ancestors either earned or stole.

  • elmdog

    In regards to poorest cities annual list and Buffalo’s ranking in the Top 5 every year….Its all based on square mileage and the city limits – Buffalo is one of the smallest cities in the country in terms of square mileage- we arent even in the Top 150 based on size – So I think that ranking cities wealth based on city limits is ridiculous….Buffalo, NY is 40.5 square miles while Phoenix Arizona is 500 square miles for example….WHy would it make sense to list wealth based on such Skewed paramters….? If we were to use metros I imagine we would be much better off…Or if we were to take an actual average square mileage for all cities and base it off this…..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_area

  • Publius

    Our school system is not what’s holding the City of Buffalo back. Boston, New York and D.C. all have lousy public school systems, yet none of those cities has difficulty attracting and retaining young talent. As this article proves, the factors that have historically held Buffalo back are being positively addressed.

  • flyguy

    Corporate tax may not be the issue. There IS something seriously wrong though with extreme wealth gains among those who are already ridiculously flush with dollars while everyone stagnates or slumps. Nationwide I think there needs to be a comprehensive payroll overhaul in terms of how we value work people do. ationwide and worldwide I think a comprehensive overhaul in profit expectations is also needed. Whats a profit expectation that has a soul versus one without one as we now have. There is an extreme sense of entitlement where I got mine, you’re worthless screw you going on at the top income levels against everyone else. Its pretty damn clear at this point. Frankly I dont think anyone making millions and billions has any right to say ANYTHING negative about those they deem as expecting handouts in the poorhouse if they themselves have staff members making less than 30 or 35K a year. Mr millionaire billionaire thinks someone who is poor feels entitled? The mega wealthy complainers about higher tax rates are like whiny children at Thanksgiving dinner who feel entitled to throw the entire turkey on their plate while everyone else goes without. Of course said child cant eat all the food and everyone else would like some but said child decides he doesnt want to share because “its mine”. Child continues to lick the turkey to state his claim, eats a bit and then throws the rest in the garbage in front of everyone. The rich have become insanely rich while everyone else slips. This has been going on for a good deal of time now. In the meantime while 10-20K foot mansions and garages flush with 3, 4 escalades, BMW’s, etc. are being built and filled, all other neighborhoods start to slump and begin their slide into mediocrity. At a point its just very clear that greed has taken over the pay structure at all else’s expense. There is no reason someone working a 40 hour week should be bumping against the poverty line and picking up second part time jobs, etc. Sorry but maybe the extremely wealthy shouldnt be as wealthy as they are. Maybe they ought to shut up about folks at the bottom and middle looking to earn a better wage because lord knows they themselves took the cake and ate it too, leaving the crumbs. Maybe they should recognize the value of the workforce under them and everyone benefit. A machine/ company is only as good as the sum of its parts. Seems many upper managers have lost sight of that. The goal is always profit and more profit and more money for me me me and my investors with workers and their incomes being an unfortunate hardship. You can put a golden engine in but if the thermostat is cheap that engine just might overheat and break. The entire employee structure from janitor to CEO needs to be valued, not just certain jobs where money rains like a hurricane down in buckets. Everyone and anyone who works should be entitled to a reasonably comfortable life. No more of this paycheck to paycheck desperation BS. This is a big part of the reason why we have a proliferation of black market illegal jobs and societal degradation.

  • paulsobo

    Buffalo is rejoining Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Boston, NYC and Chicago as it was once associated.
    There were other great cities between the Great Lakes and the East Coast connected by the canals and railroads…but cities like Detroit wont be rejoining anytime soon.
    The poor are leaving. I wonder if that means Brown’s race based majority will be crumbling? Maybe we can finally bury the “you done me wrong so you owe me civil rights patronage at city hall” and send civil service unions along the path of Scott Walker in Wisconson….ie take away their collective bargaining…and make them write checks for union dues rather than have them automatically subtracted from paychecks.
    The old Buffalonians that worked in the factories are gone and they wont be coming back anytime soon. There are many Buffalonians connected with the old Buffalo who stayed and their children are part of the new Buffalo.
    New educated and wealthy Buffalo is going to need more Centers for Excellence, more knowledge based jobs, more parks and far more culturally interesting amenities.
    Its why I constantly say…rebuild and reconstruct our history!
    Build more Centers for Excellence!

  • Up and coming

    Company-Total Tax Paid (billions)-Percentage
    Exxon 73.6 45%
    Conoco-Phillips 29.1 42%
    Chevron 49 40%
    Goldman Sachs 16 35.2%
    Wells Fargo 25 33.9%
    WalMart 29 32.4%
    Chase 37 30.1&
    Berkshire Hathaway 24 29%
    Intel 20.6 28.6%
    Proctor Gamble 19.1 27.3
    Microsoft 31.25 25%
    Apple 22.4 24%
    Johnson & Johnson 20.6 21.3%
    Google 13.1 21%
    HP 13.2 20.2%
    Citigroup 15.4 16.9%
    Coca-Cola 16.8 16.7%
    GE 15.15 7.4
    Top 18 US Companies pay = 457.1 Billion dollars in tax
    47% or America household pay = O
    ……any other uninformed arguments you’d like to make?

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Sounds reasonable to me, as I stated above we need to value ALL work and compensate all full time workers at a level that does not require government assistance. Those dollars would have to come from the top, our present tax code and public policy has concentrated our nations wealth in the hands of a greedy class of plutocrats.

  • South Buffalo Drifter

    I agree that the young people are leaving. There isn’t any jobs for them to stay here for once they get out of school. It is wealthier because a lot of the money is old money and the jobs that are here are high paying jobs like a doctor’s. The middle class is going away in buffalo and those are the people that are leaving. I left because my company shut down and there was no other jobs in the area in my field. Our combined income was about 150,000 dollars so you are off days by saying that it is just the poor that are leaving, as my wife made about 100,000 dollars a year herself.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Sorry wrong again, 2/3 of American corporations pay NO tax at all. http://www.cbsnews.com/2010-201_162-4342535.html
    Also as for your Fox news talking point, of the 47% that do not pay federal income tax 28% are retired. The other 19% pay all the regressive taxes that burden the poor, sales tax, FICA, Medicare Tax, etc.

  • Up and coming

    I’ll disagree with that one. Amongst my core group of friends all of them are higher earning individuals. A couple own companies, some work for investment ferms, a couple are managers of business, two work at museums, one’s a lawyer and one’s a doctor. So that being said I can tell you that out of my friends, three live in the city. That also being said I can tell you that not one of them plans on staying in the city once it’s time for them to send thier kids to school. Also, the stigma that Buffalo schools are terrible also keeps individuals from staying in the city, or moving to the Amherst/Eggertsville area so their kids can have a chance at a better education.

  • FadetoBlack

    Just a tip and I’m not trying to give you a hard time or anything, but if you break up long posts into separate paragraphs people are much more likely to read it. Just sayin’.

  • jim1234664

    hmmm… sample size of two… pretty scientific analysis
    why didn’t you write this article?

  • Up and coming

    You must be smoking some of that good crack rock over there in good ol’ “CrackRock”, because one, your facts are way off and two your link didn’t even load. The report you’re probably refering two though stated that 26 companies paid less that 4 percent tax from 2008-2010, which was because of the recession. Then 280 out of the top 500 companies paid less than 35 percent tax, which is nothing new. So it’s either back to the drawing board, or back to the crack pipe.

  • Up and coming

    I think he more or less wanted to took his own horn.

  • South Buffalo Drifter

    I think it would be good if there was a poll of people that have left, their ages and reasons why they left. That would give an accurate depiction of who is leaving and why. To state that all who are leaving are poor people is ignorant. And it isn’t the system abusers that are leaving either because NY gives out so much money there would be no reason for them to leave.
    I hope that Buffalo can make the turn and become the thriving city it was in the past but it has a long way to go to get there. There needs to be jobs for every class, not just people in the medical field in order to grow and sustain a thriving economy.

  • 300miles

    I agree that Buffalo being the #2 poorest is not valid because, as you said, it’s measured on a much smaller (and poorer) area while other cities get to include areas that would be considered inner suburbs here.
    Where I don’t agree is on the improvement this article is suggesting. The stats listed above are just for the city proper. If his points were valid, then buffalo’s ranking should be still be going up between 2002 and 2010, but there has been no improvement during those years. Why.
    It’s not the actual rank # I’m interested in… it’s why it hasn’t improved while the charts above show improvement.

  • No_Illusions

    Well you also have to remember that this type of poverty is cyclical. Its generation after generation of being poor and being trapped in that inescapable culture of despair. Remember even when the wealth gap was at it’s lowest point in the 1950s, poverty was still very very high.
    Just restoring the wealth gap to a sane level will not help many of the cyclical poor. They are separate problems.
    The best we could do is enact welfare that actually promotes and motivates upward mobility, instead of the current system that keeps the poor from easily rising above a certain income level.

  • No_Illusions

    That’s because our welfare system sucks. We penalize people from making too much money, before they can fully escape poverty.
    A good welfare system actually motivates and promotes upward mobility, and thus makes less people dependent on welfare. Our current systems just traps people below a certain income bracket.
    Yes there will always be abuse, but the pros greatly outweigh the cons if done correctly.

  • bernicebuffalove

    As a young adult, I have a good paying job and did not have a problem finding one. Just saying. Not that I am representing everyone but I see a lot of my friends finding jobs that are good paying. They are there… you just have to search wide, put yourself out there and try very hard.
    Also, keep in mind – Buffalo is cheap enough that you can start your own company (if you are good at what you do) and see enough success to keep you going and happy. I have several friends that do this and are able to do what they love and pay the bills. You can’t do that in NYC or Chicago.
    Go Buffalo!

  • No_Illusions

    Well you also have to remember that this type of poverty is cyclical. Its generation after generation of being poor and being trapped in that inescapable culture of despair. Remember even when the wealth gap was at it’s lowest point in the 1950s, poverty was still very very high.
    Just restoring the wealth gap to a sane level will not help many of the cyclical poor. They are separate problems.
    The best we could do is enact welfare that actually promotes and motivates upward mobility, instead of the current system that keeps the poor from easily rising above a certain income level.

  • paulsobo

    Rochester and other cities have partnerships with local businesses to start new degree programs that will give students the education they need for jobs that are here locally.
    I dont see very much of local colleges bringing local companies onto their Board of Directors…ECC is nearly 100% comprised of political patronage.
    There is alot of potential here but its untapped.

  • whatever

    Greg, interesting article for sure.
    Although looking at your table for Buffalo’s bachelor’s deg population, there’s a couple things I’d wonder about:
    First – might there be a glitch in your table’s 2008 column for that?
    ’00: 19,215
    ’06: 18,840
    ’07: 21,430 (up 14% from previous year)
    ’08: 17,849 (down 17% from prev year)
    ’09: 22,240 (up 25% from prev year)
    ’10: 23,025
    It just seems unusual to drop 17% between jumps of 14% and 25%. Notice the other 3 Upstate cities all grew in that column in ’08 (vs ’07), while we fell 17%.
    Could beg the question if ’11 or ’12 numbers will fluctuate back down – in other words, usually how steady vs. jumpy is that figure year-to-year over a bigger set of years than your table? Was it mostly steadily down say from 1990 to 2006, then up in 07, 09, and ’10? Or does it often zig zag up and down like it did from ’06-07-08-09?
    If you have them handy, it might be interesting to see if that figure fluctuated much yearly from ’01 to 05, and maybe year-to-year during the ’90’s as well, just for trend context.
    Second – if it turns out there’s a sharp change in the city’s bachelor’s deg population coinciding with the national downturn late last decade, it might be interesting to see if that same effect occurred for all of Erie Co’s bachelor deg population in same years.
    If so, perhaps there’s some pause (or more permanent change? we’ll see) in college grad migration levels to other states, and that similarly affects both city and burbs.
    If not, then it could indicate Buffalo/city is outperforming our burbs for this.
    Only time will tell if a trend like that continues for Erie Co (or all of Upstate, or just the city) if and when the national job market eventually returns to employment growth rates it had in the 1990’s and earlier 2000’s.

  • Tom

    great point. Cost of living should be selling point on Buffalo for start up innovation companies. People who have worked for google, yahoo, etc. who want to make their own technological creation that have made some money will have enough to sustain while they grow their product. Can’t do that in Los Angeles, NYC, etc. We should be trying to attract these start ups with innovations centers (we already have 1), and more marketing. Internet/Technology innovation is where our Economy is going and Buffalo should try to jump on this, so we can have long term job growth for young professionals.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    You are good at being wrong, FACT, Almost 2/3 of corporations payed NO federal income tax.
    http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/12/news/economy/corporate_taxes/
    As for your “Crack Rock” comment, how clever, I never heard that, you must be a poet or a wordsmith or you just can’t compete intellectually so you resort to sophomoric insults.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Raised four children here in the city, all attended Buffalo Schools including PS #51, PS #17, McKinley, City Honors, Olmsted, DaVinci, and Our Lady of Black Rock. My youngest will be attending Huch Tech in the fall. All my children got an excellent education and all have done very well. Education begins at home, the city offers many choices for those with the smarts and ambition, no excuse to move to the burbs “for the kids sake”.

  • whatever

    And a couple thoughts about the drop in population having such a big drop in less-than-high-school educated residents since 2000:
    Your table for that shows almost all of that drop happened between 2000 and 2007, falling from 46,373 down to 31,291. So that might have happened in different years than the bachelor’s degree growth (again the 2008 figure for the latter is confusing for now), and it was a much bigger amount of drop.
    Maybe it’s a result of very steep population loss in some parts of the East Side, and possibly might have been accompanied by growth in less-than-high-school-deg population of Cheektowaga, Town of Tonawanda, some parts of Amherst, etc?
    In other words, shifts of some lower income folks moving across the city line (with some growth of Sec 8 housing or similar affordable housing out there?) while still staying in Erie Co? If you have figures handy for inner ring burbs like those, could compare.

  • townline

    What ever happened to “Sally” – she would be all over the stats in this article.

  • No_Illusions

    You can actually go to that site, he gave a link to, type in Cheektowaga and check out the stats yourself.
    Apparently the same that happened for the city also happened in Cheektowaga at least.
    The expanding of educated people, and the number of people with higher wages.
    I will continue to play around with it. To see if this follows through with the other suburbs as well. I think I found my new favorite site!

  • Jesse

    School choice. Vouchers if you like, education tax credits if you don’t. Give the poor and disadvantaged a way OUT, and stop beating the same drum (more money will ‘fix’ it). Sorry, the public school monopoly is beyond ‘fixing’.

  • BPS_Rising

    Is is? I’m not aware of this well-known fact. Where is your evidence?

  • BPS_Rising

    I don’t think it’s meaningful to compare Buffalo to New York City, Boston, or Washington DC in terms of their ability to attract people. Those cities have many things that attract people that Buffalo does not, and that has nothing to do with the school system.
    I agree with you that the school system may not be the #1 thing keeping people from moving to Buffalo. But I do think people’s perception about the school system has a whole lot to do with people moving out of the city when they have kids, especially to the suburbs. I think there’s a cloud of pessimism and attachment to the idea that Buffalo is a bad, poor, undesirable place to live, and people are so firmly attached to that idea, that they make decisions based on what may or may not be a myth.
    I greatly appreciate the optimism and positive outlook of this article. Thank you! I think the tides are changing, I’m seeing more and more optimism in Buffalo, and that is refreshing.

  • BPS_Rising

    It’s also important to keep in mind that the loss of less-educated individuals from the city is relative to the population decline of the city. Saying that the less-educated population declined by 37.5% is only meaningful in comparison to what proportion of the population decline those people represent.

  • YesSir

    Sally was hot. She probably got banned like KarlMalone. That guy could take it the hoop.

  • BPS_Rising

    To Up and coming: My anecdotal experience is similar to yours – nearly all of my acquaintances with children are moving to the suburbs as their children approach kindergarten age because of their perception of Buffalo’s schools. Those who aren’t leaving are enrolling their children in private/parochial schools. This is a very real phenomenon I think, and while there are those who wish it weren’t so, it’s hard to deny the sense of pessimism that surrounds our public education system. That’s not to say it should be that way. I strongly believe that the public schools are a great place to send a child, and that with the proper motivation and supports, any child can succeed in them.
    I have a child entering the public schools in Buffalo in the fall, and that was a very intentional decision, backed by my values around urban living, equity, and the belief that Buffalo’s schools hold a lot of potential. I think the schools need to be strengthened by people willing to take the risk, send their children to schools with children who may or may not be poor, and build a better future. I don’t think those who leave the city for other schools are people without values, I just don’t think they’ve put the same level of thought into what makes schools “good,” how they can make schools “good” through their own actions, and really shifted their mindset away from the dark cloud that still hangs over Buffalo. Onwards!

  • Buffalo All Star

    Buffalo schools are holding development back and I agree myself..having known multiple people who moved to the city for the amenities only to move back to the burbs for schooling.
    My friends and I are mid twenties…the kind a city like Buffalo should be doing everything possible to court. Highly likely to buy a house, have children, increasing levels of disposable income, stable etc.
    They need to get rid of the lottery system and go back to neighborhood schooling. The lottery is a scary thing. Leaving your childs future up to chance is a scary thing.
    Knowing full well that what you put into to your child as a parent dictates what you get out as far as their future/quality as a student..there still is an element of chance involved. The best, smartest, most involved, educated soon to be parents look at a school lottery and take a deep breath. Its not good..thats step one in this failed system. Eliminating the lottery. Its much easier to buy a house in one of many suburbs and not have to deal a lottery instead.
    As far as work goes..wny is a great place to settle down. I would say it boils down to 2 things pertaining to people leaving.
    1. There isn’t much variety here in the workplace.(Limited amount of sectors where I’d call work “plentiful
    2. Even if work is available. WNY as a whole doesn’t have a lot to offer young 20 somethings/30 somethings as far as quality of life. This is not a great city for a social/night life meeting people. Buffalo isn’t a draw for people looking to have a little fun for a few years post college before settling down.
    I have a pretty good job in a nonexistent field in wny, my personal circle of friends consists of ppl who have found very stable work in “non” plentiful business sectors in wny. I’d be interested to see what you and your wife do SouthBuff…if you left for a better opportunity then thats great for you. I always looking..but for my age and where I am in life I am far better off in WNY than I would be elsewhere.

  • KJB

    My wife and I are both in our mid-twenties, college educated and employed in the city. We live in one of the outlying towns but are trying to move to the city. We have been attempting to buy a city-owned demolition list house since February, but have run into piles of red tape and needless delays from city hall. We really want to live in the city and save an old house from destruction (a plus for the tax base) but it seems no one in city hall is really interested in making it happen. And this is not even a homestead (the house is a block out of the nearest homestead zone), it’s a purchase based on appraised value. Anyone read The Castle by Franz Kafka?

  • laldm

    This is an incredible article. Thanks so much, Greg, for putting this together. I’ve been seeing one or the other statistic that has made this case for the last couple of years but never all in one hard-to-dispute package. Just talking to people around Buffalo, the defeatist attitude seems to be receding lately. Downtown is also feeling a lot more vibrant even just in the past year. It’s great.
    Also, for all the people that complain about Buffalo schools, keep in mind that Buffalo does have good schools if you are willing to work for it – several different elementary schools and typically concluding with an education at City Honors, which is every bit as good as any of the suburban high schools. Yes, you can’t be a lazy parent if you want to raise kids in the city because you have to force them to be a good enough student to test into some of these schools, but they can come out just fine. What’s more, they can gain important things like a sense of diversity, by meeting people from other cultures and backgrounds, something you don’t get in the suburbs. And as the city becomes wealthier and more parents realize this path, the school system will become wealthier and better as well (something that is already happening on a large scale in parts of NYC), thereby mitigating this oft-used and insufficient argument.

  • BPS_Rising

    Buffalo is what you make of it. Any place is what you make of it. If you say the schools are awful, it has nothing to offer, there are no jobs, and you throw in the towel, that becomes reality. I don’t disagree with you – for young people who have lived elsewhere and know what other desirable things other cities have to offer, some of those things cannot be found in Buffalo. I am myself in my early 30s, have lived in other cities, and I miss many things from those places. For me, the main draw is the low cost of living. I have a Masters degree and am currently unemployed, but I’m hopeful that will change soon.
    I disagree that the solution to Buffalo’s problems and public schools is instituting a neighborhood school policy. The lottery is indeed scary, I agree, I just went through it. Leaving a child’s education up to luck and chance is scary, some might argue absurd. But the lottery is what gives our city’s poor children a chance to attend a school considered “better” than the one closest to the child’s home. Getting rid of the lottery would benefit the white middle class with the means to buy into a neighborhood/school. All the more so with Say Yes to Education coming to town – parents would position themselves next to certain schools on Buffalo’s North and South neighborhoods, be educated among children from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, and collect a college scholarship. Less resourced children would be left in schools with even higher concentrations of poverty; higher income students bring up the achievement levels of all students, especially when at least 50% of a student body is not poor.
    Open enrollment empowers parents to choose a school for their child – the system is flawed, some parents won’t get their top choices, and the lack of information provided to parents about the different schools is a huge problem. But there are ways to change a lottery system to make it more equitable. There are different algorithms, lottery methods, and processes that would greatly improve Buffalo’s system. Open enrollment is also critical in a district with as many charter schools as Buffalo has. Choice keeps some parents from leaving the district for charter schools, along with their per pupil funding.
    I think a better idea would be to organize parents, educate them about the implications of different policies, and think about the common good of society, not just a benefit to those parents who already have better resources. If parents got together as a group and committed to sending their children to whatever school they are placed in, those schools would improve if that group of parents formed a critical mass. I don’t think I’m the only parent that is very happy that my child will be attending a Buffalo Public School in the fall.

  • MrGreenJeans

    If you are using the exact same dollar figures for both maps, you are failing to take into account the 25% inflation between 2002 and 2010. Someone earning $1250 in 2002 would need to be making $1515 in 2010, just to stay even. Do these maps reflect that fact?

  • Rand503

    School choice doesn’t mean you have good schools automatically. At best, it means that a handful of students would be able to move to private schools. But private schools can still reject any students that they like.
    Therefore, for the vast majority of students, they will have to either remain in public schools, or go to a a totally new school, typically a charter school. A new charter school has no better track record than a public school — in fact, it has no tract record at all by which to compare. And although many charter schools are good, many are bad. Again, there is no assurance that every new charter school will be better than any public school. And when you factor in the public schools of the suburbs, you find that public schools are often as good as or better than private schools.
    So in the end, you still have many students in public schools even with vouchers. Although I share many people’s distain for public schools in the city, vouchers are a cheap argument that fails to address any real issues at all. It’s a cop out.
    Improving our schools can be done, but there is no magic formula, and no easy way to do so.

  • Rand503

    Although I love this article, and agree it’s an eye opener, I have a difficult time believing that Buffalo is on a comeback when the overall population is still shrinking tremendously.
    I hope I am wrong, though.

  • mp1

    66% of all people know that. 😉

  • pjdunn

    As a late-twenties professional living in the City, this is exciting stuff to read. I relocated from Pittsburgh to Buffalo about a year ago – admittedly not because of a love affair with Buffalo, but for other reasons. I miss Pittsburgh. That said, I do believe your comments that “It’s not a Detroit. It’s a Pittsburgh” is correct, and I hope to see it come to fruition over the coming years..

  • Preservationguy

    Interesting to see this growth of income and skill is occurring in and around places with a high concentration of characteristics associated with smart growth (walkability, density, mixed uses, adaptive reuses etc). Demonstrating that people are voting with their feet for this living environment is a good reason for the public sector to expand and enact guidelines and incentives that encourage this form of development. Well done.

  • gtscout716

    Black Rock, I am also in the city in Buffalo and you could not tell me with a straight face that NYS welfare benefits are not a bit to much. Your wife is a social worker, so I’m sure she sees the many taking advantage of the system. As my own spouse works for social services with BPS, I can’t tell you the number of people who come up to here specifically for the most generous benefits in the country. This has a real cost.
    Why are we spending nearly double the national average on welfare? Where is the follow up with some of the obvious disability, child care, and EBT fraud? Walk into any of those mini-marts in a given city neighborhood and I can guarantee you’ll see some fraud going down.
    Why do we spend so much on housing subsidies, Belmont and section 8, when we have so much housing available? In our housing market, all this is doing is inflating rents for opportunistic landlords and the working who don’t qualify for benefits. Why are we endlessly renovating BMHA projects that get trashed within a year, when we have working class people in Riverside and N. Buffalo who can’t afford to fix their roofs?
    I’m a liberal like many on this site, however even I can see our overloaded welfare system is a serious drag on the economy of the area.

  • gtscout716

    Cyclical… a product of their environment… it can’t be helped.
    Why are you making the poor out to be helpless, unable to take charge of their own destiny? There were poor 60 years ago, poor that were much worse off in terms of welfare, finances and quality of life (look at pictures of the slums that were cleared downtown around then – worse than almost anything you’ll find today).
    But even with this poverty, they were able to live civilized lives. They took pride in where they lived, the fostered a real community, and had no where near the amount of violence there was today. Why is it today it must be so different? If I drive across main, around Riverside or the Heights, what is so different that people can’t pick the garbage off their lawns, can’t mow once a week, or not brawl in the streets? This lack of self-respect and consideration is what sends neighborhood after neighborhood crumbling. And no change in housing patterns is going to stop it until the attitude finally changes.

  • gtscout716

    I don’t think it is… looking at the upper income map, you honestly can’t tell me Riverside, South Buffalo, and North Buffalo outside of Starin and Parkside are doing better than they were 10 years ago. Definitely some positive momentum in some neighborhoods, which is good but Census data shows bad news for a lot of the city. For example, median household income was down by half in Riverside while the population increased – not a good sign for what was a working class neighborhood.
    Which is exactly why Mayor Urkel and yes men like LoCurto and Russel need to get their heads out of their asses and start putting money where it matters – the working and middle classes.

  • pampiniform

    If this is true, I would think the main thing contributing to it is the fact that the East Side is disappearing. The amount of urban prairie that has emerged around Broadway/Fillmore, along Genesee, and now along Walden and Sycamore in the last 10 years is staggering. I used to work in the area 10 or so years ago, and to see what happened to the streets there is amazing. I remember Gittere Street was definitely a run down neighborhood then. But now there is nothing left there. The houses and trees gone, in the matter of less than a decade. There are numerous blocks like that in that area and all over the east, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. And that is spreading into Cheektowaga now. The area around Pine Ridge/ is going the way of the East Side. The young people with means are getting out, leaving the older home owners behind. Once the older population goes to the nursing home or dies, the decay will keep spreading out until it hits the Thruway.
    And that decay is spreading into South Buffalo as well. The area around Seneca Street by Cazenovia is definitely another area that is beginning to follow the same path. I am amazed to see boarded up houses and demolitions appear in what were once some of the best residential streets in the city.
    I want to believe that Buffalo is on the rebound, but when I see the continued decay of the majority of the city, I find it hard to be optimistic about the fact that the city managed to add 400 or so people with bachelor’s degrees per year over the past decade.

  • gtscout716

    Exactly – we can’t pretend massaging some numbers means we’re suddenly the next Pittsburgh. There are serious issues that need to be addressed in neighborhoods that are still salvagable. But if we ignore them and throw attention and money to the neighborhoods that are long dead, we’re only hurting ourselves. Why fund barbershops and new builds over on Jefferson? You can’t have critical mass when you don’t have any mass at all. Yet we throw money down these rabbit holes while anyone with two bits flees Kensington-Bailey, flees the Heights, flees South Buffalo because there is no attention for these people. The same scene has played out over and over for the past 50 years.
    Let’s build on what we have, and help the working and middle classes that we desperately need.

  • r-k-tekt

    Buffalo has abundant school choice. Although the Buffalo Public Schools have their problems, City Honors, Olmsted, Discovery 67, Montessori, 81 offer excellent educations. McKinley, Emerson Culinary and Hutch Tech offer superb vocational ed not even attempted in the suburbs, let alone other parts of the nation. For those that want charter schools, Buffalo had less than 500 seats in 2000, now there are over 7500. If a parochial school is desired the Bison fund provides vouchers to families who need subsidies….There are numerous GOOD choices to families that CARE about their kid’s education. I cannot stess the CARE part enough… Get off the mantra that that their are no good elementary and high school educational opportunities in Buffalo

  • Up and coming

    Wrong, it has to do with housing stock. The larger and nicer the homes the more affluent people you get in the neighborhood. Look at Broadway or Bailey. Both are dense (or once were) walkable neighborhoods, but are filled with crime and poverty and why is that? Because the housing stock was always lower middle class which allowed lower middle class residents to move in, which then in turn allowed the crime and drugs to follow.

  • Up and coming

    Buffalo’s graduation rate is 54%, so let’s not paint that picture to brightly.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    So according to your simplistic logic- lower middle class= crime and drugs. That statement would be laughable if it was not so arrogant, misinformed, and elitist. Drug use is relatively consistent among all levels of income or status. The kids I see buying drugs here in Black Rock are almost all white, middle class, and driving nice vehicles. A drug counselor I work with told me the new drug problem is prescription drug abuse by middle class and wealthy white kids. When those kids get caught daddy lawyers up and keeps them from facing the consequences, another entitlement not available to poor kids.

  • flyguy

    Historically when those areas were lower middle class residents actually cared for their neighbors and their homes. Its a whole diferent ball game there now. Those houses were in good shape and cared for many decades. Its a cultural shift.

  • gtscout716

    I don’t know why you’re on this one-track mindset where anyone who is productive or wealthy is the root of all problems. Are there people all over who buy drugs? Of course. But don’t say you have kids coming in from Amherst and Tonawanda and committing most of the drive-by shootings, the robberies, break-ins etc. The neighbors of the poor kids in Tonawanda don’t put up with shot fired all night, with breaking into vacant houses, throwing your garbage on the lawn – so why is this acceptable in the city?
    It’s a culture problem for those in poverty that causes these issues. Until those in poverty decide to take responsibility for themselves and have some pride in their communuity. The rich have nothing to do with this, so stop blaming them.

  • Up and coming

    “So according to your simplistic logic- lower middle class= crime and drugs.”
    Correct, and honeslty I don’t see what the argument is. It’s a known fact that poverty crime and drugs are all connected. You don’t see people from East Amherst or Clarence shooting people to get their prescription drug fix do you? Check out the news article in today’s paper about the 8 homicides in Buffalo being unsolved drug related crimes. Also, these crimes are committed by people selling drugs, not taking them. Ps I’ve heard you say on here before about how you see prostitutes giving guys in Mercedes the ol’ handy j and how drug deals going on with “middle class” white kids in your neighborhood etc. I think this says more about Black Rock than any of your other posts combined.

  • Up and coming

    I totally agree, but those houses were more affordable that say areas around Delaware Park and Starin. This in turn made them easier for lower class blacks to move into. My grandpa used to tell me the old saying was, “once the first black moves in, all the whites move out.” This was just the thinking of the times, but we can tell now that they might have been on to something.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    The hood comes off, so it is all the black peoples fault, thanks for confirming your underlying racism.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Funny thing is your posts have a “one track mindset” of blaming the poor and especially welfare for all our problems. The poor and welfare are chump change, the bottom 40% of Americans share as a group just 1% of our nations wealth. I agree that bottom 40% should be held responsible for 1% of our problems.

  • Up and coming

    That’s what’s called a setup comment. If you notice in my before comment I put about poor people erroding neighborhoods and this was your response….
    “As for those neighborhoods that “they” (as in black I assume) have eroded,”
    …if you weren’t thinking it, you wouldnt have said it. Looks like you can only hide behind your “hood of self-righteousness” for so long.

  • Up and coming

    “I agree that bottom 40% should be held responsible for 1% of our problems.”
    Who are you agreeing with….yourself? LOLOLOLOL!

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Look, you are really out of your league here. If you are going to spout hateful, inaccurate, and just plain ignorant crap you will be challenged, this isn’t WBEN 930 or the Buffalo News site. Your negative score totals seem to indicate most others do not agree with your rhetoric.

  • gtscout716

    Please tell me where I blame welfare for ALL of WNY’s problems. You can’t because I didn’t. If you read my posts I say having twice the national average in benefits is a detriment to the economy of the entire state, not the root cause of everything wrong in the region.
    You can do more than one thing. You can deal with the subsidies given both to the rich and poor. But to blame all the problems of our city on the rich is not only insulting to the rich by assuming they don’t earn anything they have, but also the poor by saying they effectively have no control over their lives.
    I agree that subsidies to the rich are out of control also, but on the local level, we are absolutely overburdened with subsidizing and reinforcing poverty and no one wants to address that.

  • Up and coming

    Lol, I find it funny you claim that I hate the poor and welfare when I’ve never mentioned welfare on this site? Then you point to the rich and corporations as being the end all be all to America way of life. We could be talking about Alaskian dog racing and you’d bring up wealth equality and a living wage, it’s really a joke. Especially when you see multiple people commenting about how full of crap you are. Also, if you think BRO is the moral compass on all things right and wrong you are seriously misguided, just ask the residents of Bidwell how they feel about the commenters opinions on here. And if you think I’m “over my head here” you should go back to read some of your previous comments about how Black Rock paid for all of its own infrastructure when it was a “private village”, good luck on that one.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    OK, we can agree the rich and the poor contribute to our problems but lets look at the facts. As I stated, the bottom 40% of Americans, almost half of our citizens share just 1% of our nations wealth. Do you really believe that 1% of our economy and wealth is holding us back? The top 10% control 80% of our nations wealth, the rest of us (50%) divide up the remaining 19%. Which group should be held more accountable for the state of our economy and our society? Which group has the power and influence to affect change and bring about a more equitable and fair state?

  • Eric

    Congratulations on posting possibly the most negatively reviewed comment in BR history. At least it’s the worst I’ve ever seen.
    The author is trying to make the point that things my be heading in the right direction. I mean we don’t want to be the poorest city do we?
    If people only come here to poo poo the positive changes in Buffalo why don’t you start your own website. Call it Buffalo: Same As it Ever Was or whatever. Bring all the naysayers and pessimists with you. That way this site can continue to focus on improving the city and finding answers to our problems.

  • Rand503

    Drugs are a major problem in Amherst and Clarence. The difference is that there is plenty of money there, and the kids have too much. They can easily score whatever hits they want, so there is no need for crime. So it’s a bit different.

  • Up and coming

    Who should be blame 40% or the public or 1%? You’re right we should def blame 1% and forgive the 47% of Americans who pay no tax what so ever….come on man give it up.

  • Up and coming

    I should really slow down….
    Who should we blame 40% of the public or 1%? You’re right we should def blame 1% and forgive the 47% of Americans who pay no tax what so ever….come on man give it up.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    I will go slow so you can understand. The bottom 40% control 1% of our economy. The top 10% (not 1%) control 80%, the rest of us (50%) divide the remaining 19%. Who is more responsible for the state of our economy? Who has the influence and power to bring change?
    As for your Fox talking point of 47% don’t pay any tax, I thought I clarified for you yesterday, 28% of those people are RETIRED, the other 19% are making slave wages and though they don’t pay FEDERAL INCOME TAX they are nickled and dimed by regressive sales taxes, FICA, medicare, and many other taxes and fees that fall most heavily on the poorest workers.

  • Rand503

    Although Buffalo has certain advantages, it is not a center for innovation like Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, or other places. One of the major reasons is that there is virtually no private equity money. (Not Romney/Bain PE, but the real stuff — Venture Capitalists and angel investors who invest in startups and innovative companies). Buffalo isn’t alone — most regions are severely lacking in private equity financing.
    You can have the best biotech company, the best alternative energy company or whatever, but if they have no funding, they simply die on the vine. They go nowhere. Typically, a start up that’s going anywhere needs anywhere from 1 to 3 million dollars. There are no firms in Buffalo prepared to spend even a fraction of that money, let alone all of it. So those companies locate to the places where there is funding. If a Silicon VAlley VC is willing to put a lot of money into a company, they may require the company to move there so that they can keep an eye on their investment.
    Until Buffalo develops a private equity industry, it just ain’t happening. Now, if our leaders were serious about developing an industry of innovative companies, they could take $50 million of that state allocation of a billion dollars, that would do more to bring the best companies from all over the US and Canada than building all these shiny new buildings.

  • Up and coming

    Thank you for agreeing with my point that 47% of Americans pay no tax. Also here’s another little sticker shock statistic for you, the top 20 percent of Americans earn 53.4 percent of the total U.S. income, but pay 67.2 of the taxes. Also, welfare makes up 11 percent of the total US budget, thats 910 billion on these programs. (This sum does not include Social Security, Medicare or Unemployment Insurance.) How much is $910 billion? Well, that comes to around $9,000 for each lower-income American. So there’s your welfare quote, so now you can call me a welfare hater.

  • Up and coming

    ………are you sure you’re not part of Rand Financial? Because, last time I checked Rand was based out of Chicago and the 503 area code is Chicago area code, makes ya wonder?

  • Black Rock Lifer

    One of your comments began with “Screw’em, I hope they all move out of state”, then you went on to say the poor are “lazy” and then topped it all off with a litle good old fashioned racism. It is obvious from your comments that you have issues of arrogance, are overly status conscious and have a sense of entilement.
    Please provide examples of “multiple people commenting about how full of crap” I am, last time I checked your comments were the ones deeply in the red.
    As for “asking the residents of Bidwell Parkway” I don’t quite understand. Is it because they are wealthy “like all your friends”? Does that mean their opinions are somehow more valid? wiser? I don’t think so.
    Finally I have used the same name here for years, can you make the same claim? or were you the one I took to task for their ignorance of the history of the once independant Village of Black Rock?

  • YesSir

    I think even Nancy Pelosi would roll her eyes after hearing your monologue.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    I didn’t “agree with your point” on 47% not paying any tax, I pointed out how invalid that claim was, you should consider a reading comprehension course.
    On the top 20% paying over 50% of taxes, yeah I know, I am in that group but am happy to pay my fair share, it is my responsibility as a citizen.
    On the welfare spending line often quoted at 12%, this includes unemployment, workers comp, and other pay as you go programs. Pull out just aid to the poor and that number drops to 5.5% of Federal expenditures, chump change. We spend that much each year on the mortgage interest deduction, a handout to the wealthiest Americans that benefit from 70% of those dollars. I would rather feed and house the poor than subsidize large homes in East Amherst or Spaulding Lake.

  • Up and coming

    I thought you were a retired janitor manager? That being said, I doubt you make 75k a year.
    Top 10%: $113,799
    Top 25%: $67,280

  • Black Rock Lifer

    You can “doubt” all you want, I am presently the Director of Facilities and Engineering for a large health care system and I am actually in the top 12% of earners. You have probably benefited from the taxes I have paid over the last 40 years. That said I started at the bottom and have first hand experience of the challenges of poverty.

  • r-k-tekt

    54% for the public schools…with many kids unprepared with poor home lives and UNCARING parents…But as I said there are many other options. Public, vocational, parochial and charter…Your child can find a good education

  • YesSir

    Do they know how much work time you spend blogging here?

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Karl- Nancy Pelosi is too far right anyways.

  • benfranklin

    Glad you haven’t lost your sense of humor.

  • Tom

    True great point about that. Your idea about using the promised $1 billion I think would be great. Although I think there is some money here, it just needs to be found. I think someone looking to start up a biotech company, etc. who has a solid, sound business plan could find people a few people to give them the money they need. However I think in other cities the money is more accessible and therefore they live there and not Buffalo.
    I think its very interesting, and very necessary for our area. We are already investing in the medical field which I think will be huge in the future and is great. But we need to be more heavily invested in technology to attract professionals to stay here. Those Tech companies need marketing departments, janitors, etc. They will help create jobs for now and the future. I think it would be a great investment for Buffalo to make.

  • whatever

    Adjusted for inflation, looks like a decline through 2010 in median household income in Buffalo/city.
    from http://regional-institute.buffalo.edu/includes/UserDownloads/Oct06_Poverty.pdf Table 2
    median household income (inflation-adjusted into 2005 dollars) for city of Buffalo
    1989: $29,101
    1999: $28,762
    2005: $27,311
    and from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/3611000.html
    2010: $26,907 ($30,043 in 2010 $, which I then adjusted to 2005 $ using http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm )
    Also, the persons-below-poverty rate in city of Buffalo slowly grew through 2010. These top 3 numbers are from Table 1 in regional-institute link above
    1989: 25.6%
    1999: 26.6%
    2005: 26.9%
    and again from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/3611000.html
    2010: 29.6%
    So if the city’s median income is declining and poverty rate growing, even between 2005 to 2010, it seems a difficult claim to make that the city is becoming “wealthier” as Greg’s headline says.

  • whatever

    bps, true but if the comparison is of 37.5% fewer non-h.s.-diploma residents in the city (per Greg’s article) relative to Buffalo/city’s population decline of 10.7% during the same decade, it does look as though something happened disproportionately with that category.
    The only guess I can think of for that is if in years since 2000 a greater amount of low income housing became available in some of our burbs and a relatively higher number of non-h.s.-diploma residents moved across the city line to those places. If that’s what happened, their motivations could be anyone’s guess – perception of crime, perception of non-lottery city public schools, etc. – or just a desire to be in those burbs.

  • Up and coming

    It’s funny how BRO is supposed to be a leftist type blog, but will Stalin your account like a MF once they find out you don’t agree with them.

  • gabrielxs

    The school issue is overrated and (a racial cop-out for some), if you look at Return on investment (ROI)in regards to property taxes. For example we have kids and live in the city we pay ~$2,000 in property taxes Conversely, for a similar priced house in Eggertsville we would pay ~$12,000. That gives approximately $10,000 a year to spend on private schools if the city schools are disappointing us. This doesn’t even include other added economic benefits like walking everywhere instead of driving. And also exposing our kids to a high level of diversity.

  • QB Bills

    This is an excellent and very well written article indeed! I can’t say that it feels like a relief to hear that the poorer residents, primarily on the East Side, are the folks who are by and large contributing to the city’s population loss. Hopefully more can be done in the coming years to secure the future of the overlooked areas of this city so that we can eliminate that statistic as well.

  • Greg

    Sorry went on vacation! I appreciate the research to make the claim!
    I think there are two things I want to point out though from what you collected.
    First, I did not measure 1989 because I am claiming we have bottomed out in these past ten years or so. I am more or less showing support that recent developments in research, industry, and commercialization have helped the region positively in some capacity.
    Second, I think you’re forgetting to compare Buffalo to other areas. Just leaving the stats out there on an island is not helpful, which is what I personally try to avoid. On the regional institute link, I see the the US average between 1999-2009 (the time in question, not as far back as 1989) show a drop larger than the City. And you can interpret it how you want, but the state’s decrease of 3% and Buffalo’s 5% is not really drastic enough to claim foul when comparing. I mean is the 2% really making the argument strong?

  • whatever

    Greg, ok even if we ignore before 1999/2000 and also compare to state & national, what I’m still wondering is about the claim of Buffalo being “wealthier” when median household income dropped here more than in NY state and U.S. through 2010.
    Wealthier than what, when, compared to who?
    (if you said that already somewhere, I’m overlooking it)
    Didn’t Buffalo/city median income drop by 3.3% from 2000-2010 (27,827 to 26,907 using consistent 2005 $), while nationally it dropped less (2.4%) and statewide rose slightly (1.2%)?
    Buffalo median household income (inflation-adjust to 2005 $)
    2000: $27,827 (convert from $24,536)
    2010: $26,907 (conv from $30,043), down 3.3%
    and for NY state & national (also from census & converted to 2005 $)
    NYS 2000: $49,214 (conv from $43,393)
    NYS 2010: $49,800 (conv from $55,603), up 1.2%
    U.S. 2000: $47,627 (conv from $41,994)
    U.S. 2010: $46,496 (conv from $51,914), down 2.4%
    I used 2005 as a $ reference since that first site I linked before did, but percents should be same no matter which year used in http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm
    sources for 2000/1999
    income NYS & U.S., pg 3 of http://www.nyssbdc.org/resources/NYS_stats.pdf
    income Buffalo http://www.city-data.com/city/Buffalo-New-York.html
    If that site you used lets a different timeframe be used which shows Buffalo’s income rising and doing better than NYS and the U.S. over some set of years in consistent $, I’m just wondering which years those are? Not saying it’s impossible, just don’t see which years you’re saying it happened for – if that’s what you’re saying.

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