OSWEGO — Compared to a decade ago, Oswego has less people residing here, according to the state Office of the Controller.
The Comptroller’s office released Thursday a new interactive map detailing the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 data, and based on the statistics show the Port City’s population has dipped slightly when compared to 2010- and 2000-populations.
“The 2020 Census results show that New York state is changing, and this report and online tool provides detailed information about population changes in local communities and what it may mean down the road,” state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.
Since 2010, central New York’s recorded population has dropped roughly 7,000 people — or less than 1 percent — from 791,471 to 784,283. However statewide data suggests a different trend. According to the map, New York has 20,201,249 people living in the state — a 4.1 percent uptick — or roughly 823,000 residents, compared to 2010.
Locally, the statistics are not as favorable. Oswego saw a drop in its population similar to the region and county as a whole, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Oswego’s 2020 census findings recorded 16,921 residents, a nearly 7 percent decrease compared to the recorded 18,142 populations in 2010. Oswego’s reported population also represents a 5.7 percent decrease compared to the recorded 17,954 residents in 2000.
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said Thursday the slight dip could be “directly attributed” to those reaching the age of retirement and moving away from the city and often relocating to southern states. Another plausible explanation, Barlow said could be the challenges associated with collecting the data last year during the pandemic.
“It was much harder to reach people to be conducted when we were battling the pandemic and that obviously hurts numbers,” the mayor said.
Lastly, another issue facing the Port City and similar municipalities Barlow said was the millennials’ departure, which has been an issue the city in recent years has been trying to rectify.
“The exodus of millennials all over upstate New York is precisely why forwarding thinking initiatives and developments, such as LITATRO, Riverwalk, East Lake Commons, neighborhood restoration, more public parks and amenities and things to do in the community are so important,” Barlow said.
The city of Oswego since at least 2016 has drastically transformed. mostly in part to the state funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Oswego was awarded $10 million in 2016 through the state DRI, a program aimed at spurring investment in downtowns across the Empire State.
Local developments funded partly through the state DRI nearing completion or done include: The LITATRO building, Riverwalk Apartments, East Lake Commons, Water Street Square and a multitude of similar projects coming to fruition.
“We've made a great deal of progress to reverse these trends, but still have a ways to go as the data suggests,” Barlow said.
Compared to the Port City’s neighbor, the city of Fulton, a similar, yet smaller dip in population was also felt. In 2010, the city of Fulton had a recorded 11,389 residents and over the course of the last decade lost 507 people — or a 4.3 percent decrease — to 11,389 last year.
Countywide, the Census bureau’s information suggests a nearly 4 percent negative change in population dipping from 122,105 to 117,124. According to the state Comptroller’s office, nearly all villages or towns throughout the county saw similar dips.
One of most staggering decreases was found in the village of Sandy Creek, who over the course of the decade saw a 16.2 percent decrease in population, dipping to 646 from 771 a decade ago. Other local towns that have seen similar trends include: Hannibal (550 to 476), Boylston (549 to 498), Granby (6,821 to 6,520) and Scriba (6,840 to 6,617).