Older but wiser, or at least better educated

After a couple of editions about political contributions, we decided to mix things up a bit, so Joe Friday this week deals with the change in population characteristics in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area between 2000 and 2010, according to the Census.

Two trends jump out: The drop off in population is most pronounced among school-aged children and there’s a dramatic increase in the number of college graduates.

Here are the facts:

Population as a whole is down 34,402, or 3 percent, We’re still over 1 million, at 1,135,509.

We’re older, with median age climbing from 38 to 40.6.

Why are we older? One reason is we have fewer school-age children. Consider:

  • Households with children under 18 dropped by some 18,000, or 13 percent. The drop off was more pronounced among married couples, down 19 percent, than households headed by a single mother, down 3 percent.
  • Preschool enrollment dropped 17 percent between 2000 and 2010. Kindergarten was down 15 percent.
  • Elementary school enrollment also dropped 15 percent.
  • High school enrollment was down nearly 3 percent, in line with the overall population decrease.

College is another matter. College enrollment in the region is up nearly 14,000, or 19 percent.

Likewise, there’s a dramatic increase in the number of adults with college degrees. The number of residents with associate, bachelor or graduate degrees is up about 38,000. That’s marks a 13 percent increase of those holding an associate’s degree, 10 percent for those with bachelor’s and 23 percent for those with graduate degrees.

The population is otherwise better educated. The number of residents who failed to complete high school dropped by one-third, or some 54,000.

Finally, there is the matter of diversity. White residents dropped by about 53,000, or 6 percent. They comprise 82 percent of the population, down 2 percent from 2000.

Blacks held close to steady, up about 1,700, or 1 percent. There was a dramatic increase among Asians, up 10,500, a 70 percent increase. There was also a significant increase among Hispanics and Latinos, about 13,000 or 37 percent.

Data retrieval and formatting by Andrew Bailey of Primary Data.

Source: U.S. Census.

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