How the Albany metro area compares favorably to places such as Boston, DC, and Austin

We were having a conversation the other day with someone about some of the things people who don't live here -- especially people from larger metros -- might not understand or appreciate about the quality of life here.

And one thing that immediately sprang to mind: There are (relatively) good job opportunities in the Albany metro area, and the (relatively) low cost of living means you can live here (relatively) comfortably without having to scrape like you would in a lot of big/coastal metros.*

That point is illustrated by this interesting interactive data visualization from The Hamilton Project at Brookings -- it depicts median income by occupation and age across the nation's 300some metro areas. (It's attached to an analysis aptly titled "Where Work Pays: How Does Where You Live Matter for Your Earnings?")

And here's the important thing: it gives you the option to adjust for cost of living and taxes.

So how's that work out for Albany?

+ The Albany metro area's median earnings figure is $49,500. That is one of the higher figures in the nation. But it's way behind a top-3 place such as Silicon Valley ($65k) or DC (almost $61k)

+ What about taxes? Good question. Add the adjustment for taxes and the Albany metro area's median earning's figure is $35,334. That's still not all that bad compared to rest of the nation. (The top spot is again held by Silicon Valley at $44,707.)

+ But things get interesting for the Albany area when you apply the adjustment for cost of living. The Albany metro's median earnings figure is then $35,203. And the top three places in the nation when adjusted for taxes and cost of living:
1. California-Lexington Park in Maryland (right next to DC) at $42,126
2. Bloomington, Illinois at $37,865
3. Midland, Texas at $37,673

So Albany's not that far back from those places.

Unfortunately, the Brookings tool doesn't allow you to see ranks beyond the top three. But skipping around to the other high earnings places on the map -- including Boston ($35,869), New York City ($30,066), Philadelphia ($34,151), DC ($36,227), and Austin ($33,549) -- Albany's figure compares very favorably.

That's not say this area should put its feet up and stop doing the work of educating people (both during their school years and beyond), growing jobs, opening opportunities to all sorts of people, creating good housing options, and finding ways to increase the quality of life here in big and small ways. Not in any way. It needs to do all those things.

But the fact that the Albany metro compares so favorably to these other high-profile places with regard to adjusted income is something more people should know about.
____

* There are still people struggling to get by in this area. Roughly 11 percent of the population in the Albany metro area -- some 90,000 people -- is below the poverty level, according to the most recently available Census Bureau 5-year estimates. And there are many more people trying to make it at incomes not much above that.

There's still a lot of work to be done to open opportunity to more people here and raise everyone's standard of living.

Earlier: A snapshot of Capital Region income

Comments

What work is to be done, specifically?

By “There’s still a lot of work to be done” in the context of this article, I imagine the “work” means public policy efforts, such as “free” or “reduced price” college tuition, to name just one piece of “work”. I think the author had a lot of tact to not imply exactly what they would have in mind for such efforts, because I think broadly speaking everyone is looking to make our local community better, we just disagree sharply on how to do that.

Lol what work is to be done.....leads right into free tuition.....scary the mindset in this area.

Why is that a "scary mindset" BS?

Ditto......

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