Knowing how a population changes over time is important when planning for the future of a community. It is important to understand how the number of school-aged children will change, how many families will be living in the neighborhood, how many college students and young professionals will move into the neighborhood and how many senior citizens want to remain in the neighborhood.
Understanding the changes taking place in a neighborhood helps local leaders do a better job planning for the services, housing and programs that are needed and that make the community a better place to live . If, for example, we know that the elderly population in a community is growing, we can plan for more housing and programs directed towards senior citizens and their needs.
A brief overview of the characteristics of the residents living in the First Ward neighborhood can be found below.
In 1950, at the height of the City’s prosperity, Binghamton was home to more than 80,000 residents. Since 1950, however, the City has lost almost half of its residents. The City’s population has stabilized since 2000, with the 2010 census indicating a total population of 47,376.
The First Ward, like the rest of the city, lost residents during the second half of the 20th century, but gained some new residents between 2000 and 2010. In 2000 there were 4,208 residents in the First Ward. By 2010 there were 5,179 people – an addition of 971 new residents in the neighborhood.
Since 2000, the First Ward has gotten older, with the proportion of neighborhood residents under the age of 34 decreasing by over 13 percent. Tied to this trend is the increasing number of elderly residents living in the neighborhood, indicating the need for services to ensure these residents can age-in-place.
The First Ward neighborhood is a diverse and welcoming community. While the neighborhood’s racial composition is similar to that of the City as a whole, it is home to larger proportions of residents with Polish, Russian, Slovak and Ukrainian ancestry than the rest of Binghamton.
While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many.
Approximately 8% of First Ward residents have earned a college degree, which is a slightly lower proportion than the city (12%) and the county (14%). Although college students and young professionals are increasingly living in downtown Binghamton, the First Ward has experienced only minor increases in student population over the last few years, despite its proximity to the University of Binghamton and Broome County Community College.
The loss of jobs also affected people living in the First Ward. In 2001, the unemployment rate in the First Ward was 14%, almost twice the rates in the City and County. Similarly, median household income in the First Ward, at $25,247, is lower than both the City ($30,206) and County ($45,619).