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Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

Every time a new downtown luxury apartment complex is announced, many people wonder, “Where are the people coming from to fill them up?”

There’s a big shift happening in Rochester and around the country. This is a demographic shift. This is a lifestyle shift. This is a shift of expectations when it comes to housing.
Here is why we need more apartments, who is likely filling the units and why downtown is an attractive option.

There are more households without children. In 2000 there were 102,033 homes without kids in Monroe County. In 2014, there were 121,016. That’s a 19 percent increase of childless households. If you don’t have children, you can get by with less space. You don’t have to live in a suburb to access good schools. You may have more disposable income.

The population is aging. Between 2000 and 2014, the median age in Monroe County went from 36.1 to 39 years old. Between 2000 and 2014, the share of the population claimed by people over 65 went from 13 percent to 15.5 percent. Seniors often like to downsize. They often sell their homes for an easier lifestyle. During this time period, the number of seniors in childless homes grew by 8,000. But the number of childless households went up by nearly 20,000. Who is making up the gap?

The Millennials are a force. The percentage of the population between 20 and 34 years old went from 19.8 percent in 2000 to 21.3 percent in 2014. That’s an additional 15,000 young people in Monroe County. Data shows they’re trending toward city living. Although they can afford houses in many cases, they prefer to rent.

There are more people not married and living alone. In 2000, 82,042 people, or 11.5 percent of the population, lived alone. In 2014, 99,959 people, or 13.3 percent lived by themselves. On the marriage front, in 2013, 44.2 percent of the population in Monroe County was married. That’s down from 51.3 percent in 2000. If you live alone, you’re less likely to want or need a house.

Home ownership rate is falling. All of the above demographic factors have led to a lower home ownership rate in Monroe County. In 2000, 70 percent of households were owner-occupied. In 2014, 64 percent of households were owner-occupied.

Good apartments in demand: The 2014 Census shows there is a 7.7 rental vacancy rate. But where are these vacant units? I suspect landlords of lower-quality apartments and apartments in less desirable and convenient areas are suffering. Rents are on the rise in Rochester. Downtown’s rental market shows a vacancy rate of 3 percent, which is considered a very healthy market.

But downtown rents are so expensive! Newer downtown units are starting at $1,000 and up. But that’s comparable to some newer suburban apartment complexes. Downtown living is easier for those who will be closer to work and entertainment. That saves time otherwise spent in a car and money on gas. The units coming online downtown are unique and special. You can’t find the views or the ambiance anywhere else.

But a house is an investment! Maybe. Studies show people think their houses appreciate far more than they really do. Some economists think you’re better off putting the money into stocks. Houses also have big upfront costs. The New York Times calculator shows if you buy a $125,000 house with a 20 percent down payment, and spend only $2,000 the first year on fixing the place up, you’re better off renting an apartment that’s $900. This doesn’t include the cost of furniture and ongoing maintenance and home projects. You’re certainly not going to buy a house for that price downtown, in the East End or Park Ave., the most walkable neighborhoods in Rochester. Houses in good shape for that price in Swillburg or South Wedge go very quickly. The bottom line is renting can be a financially attractive option for those wanting a certain lifestyle.

There you have it. All of these things taken together are why we’re seeing more apartment complexes going up in the Rochester area, particularly downtown.

Links of the Day:



Credit: City of Rochester


Rochesterians appear to like and trust their neighbors – to a point.

The U.S. Census recently came out with 2013 results of the American Community survey for the Rochester metro. There are 414,400 households in the region.

Here are some responses to questions:

Have you talked to your neighbors in the last month?

  • Yes: 82%

How many friends do you have in the neighborhood?

  • 1 to 2: 21%
  • 3 to 5: 24%
  • 6 to 9: 14%
  • 10 or more: 22%
  • None: 15%

Is your neighborhood close-knit?

  • Strongly Agree: 31%
  • Somewhat Agree: 40%

Do neighbors get along?

  • Strongly Agree: 49%
  • Somewhat Agree: 40%

Do you share the same values as your neighbors?

  • Strongly Agree: 34%
  • Somewhat Agree: 43%

Can your neighbors be trusted?

  • Strongly Agree: 34%
  • Somewhat Agree: 39%

Are your neighbors willing to help each other?

  • Strongly Agree: 48%
  • Somewhat Agree: 38%

Would your neighbors scold a disrespectful child?

  • Very Likely: 16%
  • Likely: 34%

Would your neighbors intervene if they witnessed a fight?

  • Very Likely: 48%
  • Likely: 32%

Would your neighbors intervene if a child wasn’t in school?

  • Very Likely: 21%
  • Likely: 34%

It appears most people feel pretty good about their neighbors. But the survey also makes it clear there are thousands of people in our community who do not.


Links of the Day:


– People who hate the East Ave. Wegmans parking lot have been heard, it appears.

“It would raise too many awkward questions if AT&T & Comcast only upgraded to gigabit speeds in Google Fiber cities.”


– California has to reassess lifestyles in the wake of a historic drought.

– Workers in high poverty neighborhoods in Buffalo start their work days earlier than most.

– An ugly Lucille Ball statue is the subject of debate in her Western New York hometown.

Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester


A new report from the U.S. Census has some insight into why we don’t walk more. According to Jeff Speck, author of “Walkable Cities,” in order to encourage walking, the trip has to be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting.

The Census data is based on 2013 samples. The area has 414,400 households.

Fewer than half of households – 47 percent – reported walking or biking. Most people didn’t give a reason why they don’t walk or bike. But top responses from those who answered were health reasons, traffic issues, lack of adequate sidewalks, not owning a bike and no place close enough to walk to.

As for adequate sidewalks, two of five households reported not having adequate sidewalks present. That’s 179,100 homes in neighborhoods without sidewalks. That’s 179,100 homes where people have to walk in the road to enjoy a leisurely stroll.

Only 11 percent of households reported having bike lanes in their neighborhoods.

Many householders were correct in saying walking and biking won’t get them to their destinations. Of the people who walk or bike, two-thirds said a grocery store was accessible. Fewer than half said retail shopping was within walking or biking distance. Little more than a third said they could get to health care services. Only one-third said they could bike or walk to school or work. (Check out Brookings’ study on distances between jobs and homes.)

Twelve percent of households reported using public transportation at least occasionally.

For advocates of walking and biking, this data is hugely discouraging. Our community is set up for cars. This has consequences for poor people, the environment, crash rates, land use and more. It also has consequences on our wallets. The study found households spend an average of $726 dollars a month on their cars, including gas, insurance, car payments, maintenance and parking.


Links of the Day:


– The demand for homes is high, but inventory is low in the Rochester region.

– “New York State legislature celebrated the Eve of April Fools by making a bad teacher evaluation system even worse.”

– Five of twelve charter schools that have opened in Albany have failed.

– “Is comedy supposed to offend people sometimes? Absolutely. Safe comedy is both more boring and less insightful.”

– I hesitate sharing this dumb, clickbait column from the D&C. This writer thinks we take out-of-town guests to Wegmans at the expense of other attractions. She sets up a false choice and comes off as very patronizing.


Check it Out:


Where are the Animal Companions?


Rochester has one of the lowest rates of homes with an emergency preparedness kit, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2013, the agency looked at 25 metro areas and assessed the disaster readiness of residents.

Granted, disasters in Rochester are a once-in-a-lifetime event. (Hoping the 1991 ice storm remains the only one I will see here.) But the responses to the questions reveal an interesting glimpse into the way we live. The questions could also apply to readiness for individual emergencies, such as fires, flooding and power outages.

The Rochester metro has 414,400 households.

Is your house number visible?

Nearly 1 in 5 homes doesn’t have a house number visible on the outside.

Do you have a generator?

Twenty-four percent of single-unit households have a generator. That’s above the national average of 18 percent.

Do you have non-perishable emergency food?

Nearly 90 percent of homes have an emergency food supply.

Do you have an emergency water supply?

Fewer than half of residents – 45 percent – have an emergency water supply. This is well below the national average of 54 percent.

Do you have an emergency communication plan? (For households with more than one person)

Two-thirds of households do not have an emergency communication plan,

Do you have an emergency meeting location? (For households with more than one person)

Sixty-percent of households do not have an emergency meeting location.

Do you have an emergency evacuation kit?

Fewer than half of households – 48 percent – have an emergency evacuation kit. This is below the national average of 52 percent.

What will you do with your pets in an emergency?

In the Rochester area, 51 percent of homes have a pet, one of the highest rates of pet ownership among the metros studied. Seventy-three percent of homes said they do not need help sheltering a pet in an emergency.

Do you have evacuation funds?

Seventy percent of households reported having evacuation funds.

Do you have an evacuation vehicle?

Eighty-nine percent of households reported having an evacuation vehicle.

Where would you stay if you had to evacuate for two weeks?

Seventy percent of residents would stay with relatives or friends. Seventeen percent would stay in a hotel. Four percent – nearly 18,000 households, would utilize a public shelter. Two percent would stay in a recreational vehicle.


Links of the Day:


– It looks like the Regents Chancellor wants to give wealthy districts a pass from new teacher evaluation measures.

– Assembly Democrats, with few exceptions, voted for an education bill they don’t like.

– The playoff governor: Cuomo wants a competition for everything.

– Access denied: Reporters say federal officials and data is increasingly off limits.

Is booze too cheap?

Crocs are hoping for a comeback. No. Just no.


Tweet of the Day:


Source: American Fact Finder: census.gov

Source: American Fact Finder: census.gov


Monroe County’s population is stagnant. That’s according to U.S. Census figures out today.

  • 2010: 744,647
  • 2011: 747,225
  • 2012: 748,582
  • 2013: 750,071
  • 2014: 749,857

Monroe County posted a negligible loss in 2014, but it’s still reason for concern. It shows we’re not growing.

City of Rochester Communications Burear

City of Rochester Communications Burear

When you look at the number of people who moved out last year, it’s amazing we managed to stay relatively flat. In 2014, 8,347 babies were born in Monroe County. A total of 6,435 people died. That means we had natural increase in population. Then, if you add the 2,642 net number of people who moved to Rochester from other countries and Puerto Rico, we’re really ahead of the game. But we experienced a net loss of 4,526 people who moved out of the county…in one year.  That’s .6 percent of people – about 3 in 500 people – who live in Monroe County who said adios. 

Going back to 2010, we’ve lost a net of more than 13,000 people to other communities. That’s the equivalent of almost everyone in the Town of Sweden packing up and saying goodbye.

Once again, we can thank babies and immigrants for mitigating population loss.

The Rochester metro had 1,083,393 in 2014, an insignificant decrease from the year before.


Links of the Day:


– If there was ever a time for the city to ask the University of Rochester for a payment in lieu of taxes, now is the time.

– The state is threatening a Buffalo suburb that may boycott state tests.

– The gun used in a cop-shootout in Orleans County was stolen from a home. Lock up you guns, people.

– The state won’t release documents related to the Buffalo Billion.

– Only in the state assembly is it awkward to be a former federal prosecutor.

– A Park Ave. apartment building owner is accused of racial bias.


Henrietta…Wants to be Walkable?



Florida Passes New York in State Population



It’s official. Florida has surpassed New York as the third most populous state in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Florida added an average of 803 residents every day between July 1. 2013 and July 1, 2014. Florida now has 19,893,297 residents compared to New York’s 19,746,227. New York is growing, too. It’s just not growing as fast as Florida.

What’s going on? CNN reports:

Manufacturing jobs have diminished in northern New York cities like Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse. Florida, on the other hand, is seeing jump in tourism, real estate, construction, medicine and finance, (University of Miami’s Thomas) Boswell said.

But immigration is also an important factor in explaining Florida’s rise.

“Florida’s growth for many years has been due primarily to migration,” (University of Florida’s Stan) Smith said. “Typically, 80 to 90% of growth in the state has to do with people moving in.”

The spike in immigration includes people moving from other states as well as from abroad, Smith said. Based on responses to BEBR surveys, Smith said, most people moving to Florida do so for job-related reasons. The state also draws retirees seeking a warmer climate.

Florida is the number one destination for people leaving Rochester. Between 2007 and 2011, Monroe County had a net loss of 1,082 residents to the Sunshine State. Monroe County’s population hasn’t dipped because of immigrants.


Links of the Day:


– In New York State, you’ll never see the internal investigation or disciplinary against a police officer. The only time I’ve see one made public was the Craig Heard shooting. The info was contained in lawsuit court paperwork.

– Experts say New York’s new casinos won’t have a big economic impact.

– Racetracks are very worried about the casino expansion.

– This is why nuclear power plants, including Ginna, are in trouble.

– Young women who don’t go to college are more likely to be raped.

– From $10 million to $10 an hour: Donte Stallworth, former NFL wide receiver, is working as a Huffington Post intern.

– Phew. This map shows Rochesterians like “dude” and “buddy” more than “bro.”


Tweet of the Day:


Washington Post

Washington Post


The Washington Post reports the middle class is in trouble, with median incomes peaking in most counties many years ago.

In Monroe County, the article’s interactive map shows income peaked in 1969, when the inflation-adjusted median household income was $71,214.

The Washington Post reports:

It used to be that when the U.S. economy grew, workers up and down the economic ladder saw their incomes increase, too. But over the past 25 years, the economy has grown 83 percent, after adjusting for inflation — and the typical family’s income hasn’t budged. In that time, corporate profits doubled as a share of the economy. Workers today produce nearly twice as many goods and services per hour on the job as they did in 1989, but as a group, they get less of the nation’s economic pie. In 81 percent of America’s counties, the median income is lower today than it was 15 years ago.

In this new reality, a smaller share of Americans enjoy the fruits of an expanding economy. This isn’t a fluke of the past few years — it’s woven into the very structure of the economy. And even though Republicans and Democrats keep promising to help the middle class reclaim the prosperity it grew accustomed to after World War II, their prescriptions aren’t working.

Do you think our best days are behind us?


Links of the Day:


– Why women don’t work: U.S. lag behind in family-friendly policies.

– There is not much evidence the state’s Regional Economic Development Council grants create a lot of jobs.

– Like Rochester, Buffalo’s housing authority is also in turmoil and there are calls for the mayor to fix things.

– A Hobart College student, who was expelled, was acquitted on sexual assault charges.

– This is why state lawmakers might actually need a pay raise.

Rochester is lagging behind on snow this season. Don’t worry, plenty of time to catch up.

– Why are the magazines at doctor offices always out of date?


Tweet of the Day:



New York Times


The New York Times mapped the employment statistics of men aged 25 to 54 in every census tract in the U.S. The bottom line is that fewer men are working compared to decades past.

The New York Times reports:

On the whole, however, it’s vastly more common today than it was decades ago for prime-age men not to be working. Across the country, 16 percent of such men are not working, be they officially unemployed or outside of the labor force — disabled, discouraged, retired, in school or taking care of family. That number has more than tripled since 1968.

The data for Rochester is scary. There are census tracts in Rochester where more than half of men in this age group are unemployed. About two-thirds of men in some northeast city neighborhoods are not working. 

This statistic should be cause for alarm on a number of levels.

Read more about the employment data for men here.


Links of the Day:


– Did New York City police officers plant guns on innocent suspects? There are similarities among cases.

– Video surfaces of a Buffalo police officer beating a man.

– Following Rochester’s lead, Syracuse bishop considers outing priests with credible sexual abuse accusations against them.

– Micro-units are coming to Rochester’s Alexander Park development.

– Rochester city officials don’t appear to be interested in municipal broadband, even though two of five households does not have Internet.

– Stimulants are common for children on Medicaid.

– School discipline for girls varies by race and hue.

– The journalist uninvited to Syracuse University has died.


Duffy Needs a New Twitter Handle



Compare Young Adults Across the Decades with Census Explorer



They’re known as the Boomerang Generation because so many returned home to live with their parents. New data released by the U.S. Census shows today’s young adults are indeed more likely to be bunking with mom and dad. This generation may be less financially secure, but it’s also more educated.

The census has an interactive mapping tool to compare Millennials, considered to be between 18 and 34 years old, with previous generations. Rochester’s Millennials are similar to their counterparts across the country.

Here are the main takeaways:

1. A lot of Milleninals live with their parents. In Rochester, 29 percent of young adults are living with a parent, compared to 23 percent in 2000, 24 percent in 1990 and 23 percent in 1980. The national rate of young adults living with their parents is 30 percent.

2. Interestingly, the percentage of Millennials living alone has stayed steady over generations in Rochester – 8 percent.

3. Rochester’s Millennials are not as financially secure, with 21 percent living in poverty,. That comparedsto 15 percent in 2000, 12 percent in 1990 and 11 percent in 1980. The national Millennial poverty rate is 20 percent.

City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

4. Far fewer Rochester Millennials are employed – only 67 percent. But that’s better than the national young adult employment of 65 percent. In 1990, 74 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds had jobs. In 2000, 72 percent were working.

5. Rochester’s Millennials are not getting hitched. Seventy-three percent have never been married. That compares to 66 percent nationwide. In 1980, more than half of 18 to 34-year-olds had tied the knot at least once.

6. There is no brain drain, as I have pointed out previously. The percentage of 18 to 34-year-olds in Rochester mirrors that of the country. What’s more, Rochester’s Millennials are more educated. Twenty-five percent have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 22 percent nationwide. This generation of Rochesterians has a higher rate of college degree attainment than previous ones.

7. Millennials are more diverse. Nearly one in four Rochester Millennial is non-white, compared to nearly one in 10 in 1980.

8. Millennials are still driving alone to work – 86 percent. But the rate dipped slightly from the 88 percent who drove alone to work in 1990 and 2000.

Read more about the data here.


Links of the Day:


– Cleveland police tactics violated rights of citizens, the Justice Department found.

– “I was told something as a new rookie officer: You’d rather be tried by 12 jurors than carried by six pallbearers.

– The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on NFL blackoutsand the Bills took center stage.

– When Larry Glazer died, the city pretended everything would go on as usual. That’s not going to happen.

– A New York appeals court ruled that chimps are not people.

– Research casts alarming light on decline of West Antarctic glaciers. Rising sea levels will impact coastlines.

Someone make these tired, worn-out lists stop.

Crowd gathers at Four Corners to hear bugler on Armistice Day, 1930

Crowd gathers at Four Corners to hear bugler on Armistice Day, 1930


On this Veterans Day, here’s a snapshot of the Rochester metropolitan area’s veteran population.

There are 62,832 veterans, down 9 percent from 2011.

– Gulf War II (2001 and later): 8 percent

– Gulf War I: 12 percent

– Vietnam: 36 percent

– Korean: 11 percent

– World War II: 9 percent

Many of our veterans are aging, with 28 percent over the age of 75.

Our veterans are financially more secure than non-veterans. They have a poverty rate of 7 percent, compared to 13 percent for non-veterans. They have a higher median income and lower unemployment rate.

One out of four veterans has a disability, compared to one out of seven for non-veterans.

The U.S. Census compiled facts about veterans nationally and did a separate breakout on their economic status.


Links of the Day:


– “Despite their sacrifices, and those of thousands more, all we have to show for it are two failed wars.

– Today is the 220th Anniversary celebration of the Canandaigua Treaty.

– New car sales are way up in Monroe County.

– The Mormon church revealed founder Joseph Smith had 40 wives, some of whom were very young or already married.

– The Asian population is growing in Monroe County.

– Bats are hackers! Mexican free-tailed bats will jam other bats’ bio-sonar to steal food.

– The Oatmeal: “Dear Senator Ted Cruz, I’m going to explain to you how Net Neutrality ACTUALLY works.”

USDA website

USDA website


Monroe County is a fairly urban place, but agriculture is still big business.

This remains true despite a huge drop in the number of farms. There were 475 farms in 2012, down from 585 farms in 2007. Acreage dipped below 100,000 for the first time, a 26 percent drop in 5 years. Yet the market value of crop and livestock sales has increased 25 percent since 2007 to $90,580,000. The average farm is 208 acres, pulls in $190,696 in sales and receives $13,000 in government payments. (Monroe County has a website detailing farmland protection plans.)

Last week, the USDA released interactive maps detailing the finances, characteristics of farmers, ownership details, plants, livestock, and more of farms across the country. The data is from 2012.

You can definitely spend some time checking out this web tool.

Google Street View, Spencerport

Google Street View, Spencerport

Some things I learned:

– Seventy-eight percent of farms are owned by families or individuals.

– Seventy percent of principal owners operate their own farms. Only 16 percent don’t live on the farm.

– This surprised me: Thirty percent of Monroe County farms have a woman principal operator.

– This did not surprise me: Thirty percent of farm owners are aged 65 or older.

– Thirty-nine percent of harvested cropland in Monroe County is corn. Eighteen percent is soybean. Twelve percent is hay. Ten percent is wheat. Two percent are orchards.

– More than half of Monroe County farms – 54 percent – have annual sales of less than $10,000. Thirteen percent of Monroe County farms have sales of more than $250,000.

– Twenty-two percent of farms receive government payments.

– There are 6 cows per 100 acres of farmland in Monroe County. Nearly one-third are milk cows.

Our neighboring counties obviously have more farms, but I thought these maps are a neat reminder of the diversity right here in our own backyard.


Google Maps, Chili

Google Maps, Chili


Links of the Day:


– A new Siena poll shows Rich Funke with only 9-point lead over Ted OBrien.

– A high-achieving New York teacher sued the state over an evaluation labeling her “ineffective.”

– Private companies are also collecting license plate data.

– An FCC proposal could pave the way for a la carte Internet TV packages.

– It’s just not right to watch a man risk his life for TV ratings.

– Macy’s Herald Square has had a makeover, including the famous shoe department, where runners will find one pair out of 250,000 and bring it to customers in two minutes or less!

computer-150x150New census data shows there is a digital divide in our community. More than 85,000 people who live in Monroe County do not have a computer or an Internet connection at home. City residents are more likely not to have access to high-speed broadband.

Let’s take a look at the 2013 American Community Survey.

How many households have a computer?

The survey shows 83 percent of Monroe County households have a computer, which can include smartphones. That’s on par with the national and state averages. In the City of Rochester, only 74 percent of households has a computer.

How many households have broadband Internet?

Here again, Monroe County follows state and national averages, with three of four households having a high-speed Internet connection. In the City of Rochester, only three of five households has broadband.

Do children have broadband Internet at home?

In Monroe County, 81 percent of children under 18 have high-speed Internet at home. This is on par with state and national averages. In the City of Rochester, 62 percent of children have broadband Internet at home.

Do senior citizens have broadband Internet at home?

Three of five people 65 years and older in Monroe County have high-speed Internet at home, again comparable to state and national averages. In the City of Rochester, only two of five seniors has broadband Internet at home.

How many people only have access to the Internet on their smartphones?

In the United States, 7 percent of people only have a mobile broadband subscription at home. In New York State, 4 percent of people fall into this category. In Monroe County, 5 percent of people only have smartphone Internet at home. That’s more than 30,000 people. In the City of Rochester, the rate of mobile-only broadband jumps to 13 percent.

What types of broadband Internet are in households?

In Monroe County, cable rules, with 70 percent of households getting their Internet through cable. Fourteen percent of households have a DSL subscription. 1.5 percent have satellite Internet and .7 percent have fiber optic.

Must be Nice

Four percent of Monroe County households access the Internet without a subscription. This includes people who get Internet for free from universities…or their neighbors’ Wi-Fi?

What does this mean?

High-speed Internet is a vital way to apply for jobs, communicate with current and future employers, take classes, stay informed about our community, and learn about the world.

An awful lot of people cannot use the Internet at home in our community. This makes the continued availability of terminals at our libraries so important. This is especially important for households with children, who increasingly need broadband to complete assignments. The Internet also offers so many opportunities to explore the world that children in broadband-less homes will not be able to access as easily. It’s also concerning that so many people are only relying on smartphones, which are more limited in capabilities, for Internet access.

The survey doesn’t ask why people don’t have broadband at home. It’s possible they don’t value high-speed Internet, but I’m guessing it’s more likely they can’t afford it.


Join Me on October 26


The Women’s Foundation of the Genesee Valley helps poor women and children succeed. The group gives grants to programs proven to help them get on their feet – and stay on their feet. Please consider walking with me on October 26 and/or making a small donation!


Links of the Day:


– Downstate superintendents call on the state to scrap the horribly flawed teacher evaluation system.

– A former NFL ball boy describes a very violent sport, but concludes the only change needed is more emotional support for players.

– A couple spent $7,000 on a run-down 19th Ward house and completed a remarkable transformation.

– On this National Coming Out Day, I’m so proud of my cousin for being open and passionate about her transgender child.

– This article makes kid-carpooling sound like absolute hell.

The brunch backlash.

Remembering Jimmy the Chimp.

Wedding at Maplewood Rose Garden

Wedding at Maplewood Rose Garden


If you think Rochester’s dating scene is terrible…

Maybe you’re a man?

The Pew Research Center did the math on the number of single men versus women in cities across the country. The group even figured out how many of these eligible singles are employed.

In Rochester, there are 118 single men aged 25 to 34 for every 100 single women. There are 85 single women for every 100 men. There are 50,710 single men and 42,932 single women. Sixty-eight percent of people in this age group are single.

If you’re a woman on the market, this sounds great! But wait. Pew found 78 percent of women want a guy who has a job. The pool of eligible men shrinks when you factor in employment. There are only 88 employed single men for every 100 women. The numbers look worse for men who value working women – only 67 employed women per 100 men.

In a previous blog post, I detailed how many Rochesterians of all age groups are single and how the percentage of single adults has gone up over time. If you think you need to move to find a mate, check out Pew’s interactive marriage market map.


Movie About Rochester’s Older Singles!



Links of the Day:


A study says New York’s teacher evaluation system is “irreparably” flawed.

– Terry Pegula will be the fourth wealthiest NFL owner.

– Ralph Wilson left millions to Western New York and Detroit.

– People are angry at Cuomo over the Safe Act, but the NRA isn’t funding his opponent.

– Three Afghanis held in Batavia say they’ll be killed if they return home.

– Kill switches are supposed to cut down on cell phone thefts. But I found a market for used phones with kill switches among Rochester cell phone dealers.

– Netflix could disrupt the movie theater business. Regal can’t stand it.

– Why don’t more U.S. women bike? Safety isn’t the top reason.


Join Me to Fight Poverty!


Women's Foundation logoIn Monroe County, nearly half of single mothers with children under 18 live in poverty. The Women’s Foundation of the Genesee Valley funds programs to help women become economically self-sufficient. I’m the honorary chair of the group’s first annual 5k and walk on October 26. Please consider joining my team or making a donation. I would love to see you!

Credit; City of Rochester

Credit; City of Rochester


Recently-released census data shows some small changes in commuting over time.

There were more people driving alone to work in 2000 than 2013. In 2000, 82 percent of workers – 283,062 people – drove alone to work. That compares to 80 percent in 2013, or 280,819 people. This is interesting because we’re spending $100 million to revamp the Rochester-Brighton-Henrietta 390 corridor, even though there do not appear to be more cars on the road.

Carpooling was more popular in 2000 than 2013. In 2000, 8.4 percent of workers. In 2013, 7.8 percent shared rides to work. But carpooling was only at 7 percent in 2006, so perhaps it’s picking up speed.

Commute times are the same. In 2000, the average commute was 19.6 minutes. In 2013, the average commute was 19.7 minutes.

Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

More people are taking the bus to work. In 2000, 2.7 percent of workers took public transportation. In 2013, 3.4 percent of workers – nearly 12,000 people – took the bus to work.

More people are walking to work. In 2000, 3.4 percent of people walked to work. In 2013, 3.8 percent of people – more than 13,000 – got to work on two legs.

More people are biking to work. The number of people who bike to work is at a paltry .4 percent. But that’s 1,544 people riding their bicycles to work, up from 1,099 in 2006. Nearly half live in the city. (Before you question bike lanes, consider the fact many more people ride purely for recreation and exercise.)

More people work at home. In 2000, 2.7 percent of people worked at home. In 2013, 3.4 percent – nearly 12,000 people – work at home.

In our car-centric city, it’s worth noting that 1 in 8 people gets to work by walking, biking or riding the bus. That means more than 26,000 people will likely have to cross the road in front of your car and share the road with your car. Let’s be sure to watch out for them.

Update: Some are asking whether the workforce was bigger in 2000. According to the census, there were 345,019 people 16 and over commuting to work in 2000, compared to 349,802 in 2013.


Links of the Day:


– Throwing money at developers doesn’t create new business. It moves business around. Here’s a good Rochester example.

– American sports franchises are selling their cities short. Stadiums are not good investments!

– Wow. Cuomo and Hochul spent $5.9 million on the primary.

– A University of Wisconsin fraternity is suspected of drugging women at a party.

– This essay from New York Times columnist Charles Blow about sexual abuse, sexuality and learning to love himself is painfully honest and quite beautiful.


Help Fight Poverty:


Women's Foundation logoIf you like my blog posts, we can chat about them in person! Consider joining my team on October 26 for the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley 5k and Walk. Donations of any amount – no matter how small – would also be appreciated. I am the honorary chair of this event. The Women’s Foundation helps women and girls become economically self-sufficient. It’s a great organization that deserves more attention for its important work in Rochester.


Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester


This week is National Unmarried and Single Americans week.

According to the U.S. Census, there were 105 million single American adults last year. That’s 44 percent of the 18 and over population. Fifty-three percent of this group are women. Sixty-two percent have never been married. Twenty-four percent are divorced. Fourteen percent were widowed.

Sorry ladies, there are 87 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women.

Of course, many men and women live together without being married. There were 57 million such households in the U.S. in 2013.

What’s the singles scene in Rochester?

Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

Singles make up more than half the adult population. In 2013, 44.2 percent of the adult population is married. That’s down from 51.3 percent in 2000. Forty-one percent of men and 35 percent of women have never been married. Eight percent of men and 11 percent of women are divorced and single. Three percent of men and 9 percent of women are widowed.

In Monroe County, nearly 21,000 unmarried people lived with a significant other in 2013.

What are the implications? With the release of poverty data this week, we also saw that single mothers in Monroe County were more far more likely to be poor.  In addition, Bloomberg reports:

Singles, particularly younger ones, are more likely to rent than to own their dwellings. Never-married young singles are less likely to have children and previously married older ones, many of whom have adult children, are unlikely to have young kids, (Ed) Yardeni wrote. That will influence how much money they spend and what they buy.


U.S. Census

U.S. Census


Links of the Day:

Pegulas are super-rich, but they won’t pay for a new stadium. Hello taxpayers and personal seat licenses.

– With voters split on fracking, does it makes sense for Astorino to use Cuomo’s indecision as campaign issue?

– Last week, I took a look at how parole works in Rochester. We found out how many ex-prisoners are homeless, have absconded and got arrested for violent felonies.

– A Rochester grandmother is sending her grandson away to save him from the streets.

– ESPN has an exhaustive, detailed story of the Ray Rice scandal. No one looks good.

– Are U.S. soldiers dying from survivable wounds?

– I’m sure East High’s principal is a nice guy, but what on earth has he done to warrant an honor from the White House? His school is failing so badly, the state ordered it to close.

Help Fight Poverty:

I’m honorary chair of the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley‘s first annual 5k and walk. This organization helps women and girls in poverty become economically self-sufficient. Please consider joining my team and/or making a donation of any amount. If you like my blog posts, I’m sure we could have great conversation walking through Genesee Valley Park on October 26!

City of Rochester Communications Burear

City of Rochester Communications Burear


As the nation debates the fate of child immigrant detainees and immigration reform, let’s look at immigrants in the Rochester area.

The following data comes from the U.S. Census 2012 American Community Survey.

– Monroe County had 61,247 foreign-born residents in 2012. This means they were not U.S. citizens at birth.

– Monroe County has a smaller share of immigrants than the state and nation. In the United States, 13 percent of residents are foreign-born. Forty-six percent of them are naturalized citizens. In New York State, 23 percent of people are foreign-born and 53 percent of them are naturalized citizens. In the City of Rochester, 10 percent of residents are foreign-born, with 42 percent being naturalized citizens. In Monroe County, 8 percent of residents are foreign-born, with 52 being naturalized citizens.

– The largest share of local immigrants comes from Asia – 38 percent. Twenty-one percent hail from Latin America, 30 percent from Europe, 8 percent from Africa and 4 percent from North America.

– The vast majority – 87 percent – of Monroe County immigrants speak English at home.

– Immigrants are older than the rest of the population. The median age of foreign-born people in Monroe County is 43, compared to 38 for the population as a whole. The median age for naturalized citizens is 53. The median age for non-naturalized citizens is 33. These trends are similar to the nation and state.

– The largest group of foreign-born individuals in Monroe County  – 42 percent – arrived in the U.S. before 1990. Four in five people in this group have become naturalized citizens. The next largest group of immigrants – 29 percent of Monroe County’s foreign-born residents – came in the 2000s. One in five is now a citizen. Eighteen percent of Monroe County’s residents born outside of the country arrived in the 1990s. Seventy percent of them are now citizens. Since 2010, more than 6,700 immigrants have arrived.

– The neighborhoods surrounding Rochester’s two largest colleges have the highest rate of foreign-born residents.

– Foreign-born adults in Monroe County have a higher rate of educational attainment than the population as a whole. Thirty-eight percent of immigrants had a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 34 percent of the rest of the population.

– Historical footnote: In 1855, 44 percent of Rochester’s residents were immigrants. Between 1890 and World War I, the percentage of immigrants plus the children of immigrants hovered around 70 percent.

Update: Several people are asking on Facebook if this data includes unauthorized immigrants and refugees. The census does not break them out as a separate group, so if these individuals agreed to be counted, they are included in the data. A recent study estimated there are 750,000 illegal immigrants in New York State, with most being in New York City.


Links of the Day:


– This story in the Buffalo News clearly shows there’s limited economic impact from the Bills and a new Bills stadium. So why do we give these teams the upper hand – and tons of tax dollars?

– Why do we allow government to cut pensions while funding new sports stadiums? Only one is a true economic activity generator.

– Is Bon Jovi really lying about keeping the Bills in Buffalo?

The Albany Times Union editorial board says the governor owes an explanation and apology.

– The New York Times editorial board comes out in favor of legalized pot.

– Carl Paladino calls Scott Congel’s West Seneca development a con job and ripoff.

– NSA-like: Monroe County has 3,765,555 license plate tracker hits in storage. We all might be in there.

– The list of businesses getting Start-Up New York tax breaks in Binghamton is not impressive. An audio-visual firm that is creating 11 jobs?

– A lawsuit challenging teacher tenure in New York will be filed Monday.

“Pieces of other people’s lives haunt their own.”

– College offers plenty of opportunities to meet new people. Why do colleges insist your roommate has to be one of them?

– The Seneca Park Zoo went undercover to survey Rochester wetlands.

– Beer is Americans’ adult beverage of choice.

Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

Monroe County is getting more diverse. Newly-released census data shows Hispanics are the fastest growing group, followed by Asians and blacks.

Hispanics numbered 62,994 in Monroe County in 2013, up from 57,670 in 2010, a 9.2 percent increase. That means they make up 8.4 percent of the population, a .5 percent increase from 2010.

The number of Asians went up 8 percent between 2010 and 2013 to 31,366. They now make up 4.2 percent of Monroe County’s population, up from 3.9 percent in 2010.

There are 131,269 black residents of Monroe County, up 2 percent from 2010. They make up 17.5 percent of population, up from 17.3 percent in 2010.

There are 598,101 non-Hispanic white residents, up from 596,345 in 2010. But their total share of the population dropped from 80.1 percent to 79.8 percent.

Monroe County is less diverse than the United States as a whole, where whites make up 62.6 percent of the population. Asians and Hispanics are the fastest-growing groups in the nation.


Links of the Day:


– A suburban Syracuse school district can bring back soup and sandwiches at lunch. It’s rejecting the federal lunch program. (Poor districts can’t do this.)

– Math under Common Core has parents stumbling.

– Oh look. Another state lawmaker indicted.

– Work programs for people with disabilities are being phased out. Maybe that’s a good thing, because the jobs paid less than minimum wage.

– High Falls repainted old “Ghost Signs.” This is so cool!

– People love the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, but they don’t know a lot about jazz.


Tweet of the Day:



Graphic of the Day:




Credit: City of Rochester


New Census data shows that like the rest of the country, Monroe County is aging.

The median age in Monroe County is 38.6, up from 38.5. The median age for the U.S. as a whole is 37.6, up from 37.5.

There are fewer children under the age of 18 in Monroe County:

  • 2010: 168,699
  • 2011: 165,902
  • 2012: 163,561
  • 2013: 162,356

That’s a drop of 4 percent, which will undoubtedly impact schools in coming years.

There are more people aged 65 and older in Monroe County:

  • 2010: 103,594
  • 2011: 105,740
  • 2012: 109,732
  • 2013: 112,935

That’s a 9 percent increase in the number of senior citizens in just a few years! This has major implications for housing, community design, medical care and other services.

But the number of Millennials is up 6 percent. People aged 20-34 in Monroe County:

  • 2010: 149,113
  • 2011: 153,716
  • 2012: 155,980
  • 2013: 158,239

This is more evidence to refute the “brain drain” theory. As for whether this group is procreating, perhaps they are waiting longer, which would help explain the drop in children.


census age


Links of the Day:


– Syracuse University will decide the future of the Carrier Dome over the next two years.

– I’m surprised Rochester independent restaurants never challenged tax breaks for Wilmorite, as Syracuse restaurants are doing with Destiny USA.

– There’s little scientific evidence marijuana helps sick people – and it’s super hard to study whether it does.

– Heat and humidity will get so bad in the U.S., your outside activity may be severely limited.

– Sexual assault is terrible, but lower standards of proof on college campuses and a lack of due process for accused is troubling.

– More than three-quarters of conservatives say the poor “have it easy.”

– “If you live in a city, rent your home and have skipped both car ownership and parenthood, you’re in luck.

Ann Coulter is absolutely nuts.

– Dogtown has one of the best vegan hot dogs in the U.S., PETA says.

The U.S. Census released data on business patterns for 2012. I did a comparison for selected retail, restaurants and recreation in the Rochester metropolitan area.

As for retail, the total number of establishments fell from 3,915 in 2002 to 3,548 in 2012. It’s clear the Internet took a bite out of some brick and mortar places. But other trends are revealed, such as the fact we’re buying fewer flowers.

We’re eating out more, with the total number of establishments climbing from 2,014 to 2,240. There are fewer bars, but the number of liquor stores went up.

Recreation patterns show we’re golfing and bowling less, but working out more.

Have a look:







Links of the Day:


– Parents are ridiculously pushy. Kids can’t take criticism and solve their own problems. Such is the state of youth sports in Rochester.

– A poll of New Yorkers shows deep dissatisfaction with Common Core, as well as trust in teachers.

– I found this New York Times piece on Common Core to be overly positive. It makes it seem as if this child must learn these new, wonderful, challenging standards, or fail at life. There was no questioning of the standards themselves.

– Could a lawsuit challenging teacher tenure be filed in New York?

– Do school dress codes inadvertently treat girls as sex objects?

– There are a lot fewer people playing golf in Monroe County.

– Do we really need to drug test eighth-graders? A girl (after my own heart) protested and got booted from the National Honor Society.

– The story of a dad his autistic son who loves the Phillies will touch your heart.

Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

The U.S. Census came out with a report this week showing a greater percentage of Rochesterians walk to work than the national average. The data was based on census surveys between 2008 and 2012.

In the city of Rochester, 6.2 percent of people walk to work. That ranks us 15th among large cities in the percentage of walkers. In Monroe County, 3.3 percent of commuters walk to work. The national average for walking to work is 2.8 percent.

The report also shows bicycling is on the rise in Monroe County. In 2000, .2 percent of workers biked to their jobs. In 2012, .7 percent did. The national average is .6 percent. The number of bicycle commuters nationwide went up 60 percent over the last decade.

(Check out this cool interactive map of commuting in the U.S. You can drill down to census tracts.)

The number of people who bike and walk to work remains low around the country, but has increased steadily increased steadily in recent years. More than 80 percent of us still drive alone to work, but there are good reasons to support alternative modes of transportation. Walking and biking is good for your health and cuts down on pollution, traffic congestion and wear on roads.

Of course, not everyone can ditch driving to work. But there are people who want to. Studies show Millennials want to live in places where they don’t have to rely on cars. This generation wants walkable cities.

This has implications for Rochester, which is designing streets to be more friendly to bicycles and pedestrians. It has implications for where we build things, too. It also has implications for drivers, as they get used to sharing the road. (Drivers through Pittsford are now learning this.)


Links of the Day:


– Albany’s mayor wants red light cameras. Meanwhile, Assemblyman David Gantt submitted a bill to renew Rochester’s program.

– Governor Cuomo’s spokesman really stepped in it this week.

– The legacy of Rochester’s Ramon Santiago is caught up in a criminal case and family feud.

Secret fraternities at University of Buffalo.

– The number of “dead malls” has nearly tripled since 2006.

– Why Hooters wants Bob Duffy to pay them a visit.

– People name their kids after Game of Thrones characters.