Buffalo: A Smarter, Wealthier City

By Gregory Conley: 
Quite often we hear from people of a decreasing population, employment, and eroding tax base. We hear that Buffalo, NY is in the past and can’t come back. We hear it is bleeding a wound that will never heal.
Well it’s time to shut those people up.
Recently, I have been using two great tools to examine different geographic data sets. One is a great mapping system through the US Census online, called On The Map. This system allows users to analyze employment within a variety of divisions from region to census tract. The other tool I used is Telestrian (Telestrian.com), an amazing tool that easily compiles data on an assortment of topics from education to income, to gender to age, to much more. I focused primarily on the Buffalo’s city proper, and found some very positive results.
It’s not the wealthy people leaving the City.
In Buffalo and in other Great Lakes cities, we often try to appease and entice the wealthy to stay and/or move to the City proper. We worry so much about losing this higher income bracket, we may lose sight of what is in front of our face.
Low income residents are the ones moving out of the City, Big Time.
Below are two maps of employed residents based on where they live from 2002 and 2010. As you can see, most of the areas east of Main with higher employment numbers rapidly eroded away in this 8 year span. Click on graphics to enlarge.
Employment-based-on-home-Buffalo-NY.jpg
Now let’s look at lower income, which are workers making $1,250 per month or less.
Employment-based-on-home-making-less-than-1250-per-month.jpg
As you can see, areas east of Main Street have rapidly eroded away. Most notably, Polonia, Emerson, Parade Park, and Grider neighborhoods have been vacated by this income bracket. And as you can also see, this income bracket is not concentrating in new areas, but purely leaving the City.
It should also be noted that this is a similar, yet less marked pattern for those who make $1,251 to $3,332 per month.
Employment-between-1251-and-3332.jpg
Finally, where are all the wealthy people living? Well, that’s getting bigger.
_over-3333-per-month.jpg
Wealth has stayed and grown in places like North Park and Starin in North Buffalo, but  wealth is also expanding toward Downtown. The traditional neighborhood, Bryant is getting wealthier, connecting with Allentown, and moving toward the Ellicott rectangle of Downtown. In more modern nomenclature, the Elmwood Village is expanding and getting wealthier, moving south.
So, as you can see, Buffalo residents are getting wealthier. While slightly verbose in explanation, the people leaving are low income. It should be asserted that low income residents are not really moving out due to gentrification, but other reasons such as violence, education, or loss of employment. However, considering the Buffalo-Niagara Metro evaded much of the horrors of the Great Recession, I have serious doubts that people left the city solely due to lack of employment.
Buffalo is smarter.
As we see this marked decrease in lower income residents in the City proper, the other question is education attainment. Are the people leaving intellectually valuable, and is the City of Buffalo failing to find employment for this workforce?
Unfortunately, no.
While blame could be doled out in a number of ways as to why certain neighborhoods lack educational attainment, this is to show by what number of the population has the education attainment of the City changed.
Using Telestrian (Telestrian.com), I compiled data sets, comparing educational attainment from 2000 to 2010. Below is a chart, showing the difference of residents in major New York Cities who have less than a high school degree from 2000 to 2010.
Change of Population with Less than High School Attainment, Major Cities in New York
Change of Population with Less than High School.jpgHere, Buffalo is shedding the highest number of this education attainment bracket at a whopping -37.05%! It should also be said, whether positive or negative, that Bufalo is shedding those with high school degrees, and those with some college experience. However those numbers are are -10.47% and -2.31% respectively. Not nearly as drastic as the change listed above.
For those who say there should be comparisons of metropolitan areas, it won’t
be included here, but the metro is not losing nearly as much residents with less than a high school degree. This means that those residents of this bracket are probably moving into first ring suburbs such as Tonawanda, Amherst, and Cheektowaga.
While Buffalo is losing the less educated, The Queen City is gaining with those who have Bachelor’s and Graduate or Professional Degrees. Outside of New York City, Buffalo has the highest increase of residents with Bachelor’s Degrees from 2000 to 2010.
Change of Population with a Bachelor’s Degree, Major Cities in New York 
Bachelor's Degree.jpg
And let’s also compare the city proper to other Great Lakes cities in terms of Bachelor’s degree attainment.
Change of Population with a Bachelor’s Degree, Major Cities in Great Lakes 
Bachelor's Degree in Rust Belt.jpg
Buffalo is now breaking away from Detroit and Cleveland, and moving toward Pittsburgh and Columbus.
What now?
One of our more modern nicknames for Buffalo is the City of No Illusions. However what I see is that there are people in and around this city perpetuating a damaging illusion of failure and mediocrity. When in actuality, Buffalo is on the verge of a comeback. It’s not a Detroit. It’s a Pittsburgh.
Buffalo is breaking from the Rust Belt, and joining the ranks of research centers to become a smarter city. It sees a role in multiple industrial clusters such as life sciences, advanced machinery, transportation and logistics due its international border, and also a potentially new cluster forming from the University at Buffalo’s establishment of a Center for Excellence in Nanomaterials. The Queen City has also taken advantage of its cross border trade to move toward becoming a center of commercialization for products developed in the Greater Toronto Area. And most importantly, people are starting to realize that they want to not only work in this kind of environment, but want to live there too.
Buffalo is on a comeback, are you a part of it?
Gregory Conley is a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education in English as a Second Language Education, M.Ed. His interests include expanding equality to access in education, learning about the ethnic histories of Buffalo, and urban planning. If you missed Greg’s last article on Crowd Sourcing, click here.

About the author  ⁄ queenseyes

Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Catalyst behind the Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette. Themed New Years mayhem at various locations. Next up: Porchfest... Also offers package tours of the city for groups or individuals. Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

116 comments
whatever
whatever

Greg, ok even if we ignore before 1999/2000 and also compare to state & national, what I'm still wondering is about the claim of Buffalo being "wealthier" when median household income dropped here more than in NY state and U.S. through 2010.

Wealthier than what, when, compared to who?

(if you said that already somewhere, I'm overlooking it)

Didn't Buffalo/city median income drop by 3.3% from 2000-2010 (27,827 to 26,907 using consistent 2005 $), while nationally it dropped less (2.4%) and statewide rose slightly (1.2%)?

Buffalo median household income (inflation-adjust to 2005 $)

2000: $27,827 (convert from $24,536)

2010: $26,907 (conv from $30,043), down 3.3%

and for NY state & national (also from census & converted to 2005 $)

NYS 2000: $49,214 (conv from $43,393)

NYS 2010: $49,800 (conv from $55,603), up 1.2%

U.S. 2000: $47,627 (conv from $41,994)

U.S. 2010: $46,496 (conv from $51,914), down 2.4%

I used 2005 as a $ reference since that first site I linked before did, but percents should be same no matter which year used in http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

sources for 2000/1999

income NYS & U.S., pg 3 of http://www.nyssbdc.org/resources/NYS_stats.pdf

income Buffalo http://www.city-data.com/city/Buffalo-New-York.html

If that site you used lets a different timeframe be used which shows Buffalo's income rising and doing better than NYS and the U.S. over some set of years in consistent $, I'm just wondering which years those are? Not saying it's impossible, just don't see which years you're saying it happened for - if that's what you're saying.

Greg
Greg

Sorry went on vacation! I appreciate the research to make the claim!

I think there are two things I want to point out though from what you collected.

First, I did not measure 1989 because I am claiming we have bottomed out in these past ten years or so. I am more or less showing support that recent developments in research, industry, and commercialization have helped the region positively in some capacity.

Second, I think you're forgetting to compare Buffalo to other areas. Just leaving the stats out there on an island is not helpful, which is what I personally try to avoid. On the regional institute link, I see the the US average between 1999-2009 (the time in question, not as far back as 1989) show a drop larger than the City. And you can interpret it how you want, but the state's decrease of 3% and Buffalo's 5% is not really drastic enough to claim foul when comparing. I mean is the 2% really making the argument strong?

QB Bills
QB Bills

This is an excellent and very well written article indeed! I can't say that it feels like a relief to hear that the poorer residents, primarily on the East Side, are the folks who are by and large contributing to the city's population loss. Hopefully more can be done in the coming years to secure the future of the overlooked areas of this city so that we can eliminate that statistic as well.

gabrielxs
gabrielxs

The school issue is overrated and (a racial cop-out for some), if you look at Return on investment (ROI)in regards to property taxes. For example we have kids and live in the city we pay ~$2,000 in property taxes Conversely, for a similar priced house in Eggertsville we would pay ~$12,000. That gives approximately $10,000 a year to spend on private schools if the city schools are disappointing us. This doesn't even include other added economic benefits like walking everywhere instead of driving. And also exposing our kids to a high level of diversity.

Up and coming
Up and coming

It's funny how BRO is supposed to be a leftist type blog, but will Stalin your account like a MF once they find out you don't agree with them.

whatever
whatever

bps, true but if the comparison is of 37.5% fewer non-h.s.-diploma residents in the city (per Greg's article) relative to Buffalo/city's population decline of 10.7% during the same decade, it does look as though something happened disproportionately with that category.

The only guess I can think of for that is if in years since 2000 a greater amount of low income housing became available in some of our burbs and a relatively higher number of non-h.s.-diploma residents moved across the city line to those places. If that's what happened, their motivations could be anyone's guess - perception of crime, perception of non-lottery city public schools, etc. - or just a desire to be in those burbs.

whatever
whatever

Adjusted for inflation, looks like a decline through 2010 in median household income in Buffalo/city.

from http://regional-institute.buffalo.edu/includes/UserDownloads/Oct06_Poverty.pdf Table 2

median household income (inflation-adjusted into 2005 dollars) for city of Buffalo

1989: $29,101

1999: $28,762

2005: $27,311

and from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/3611000.html

2010: $26,907 ($30,043 in 2010 $, which I then adjusted to 2005 $ using http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm )

Also, the persons-below-poverty rate in city of Buffalo slowly grew through 2010. These top 3 numbers are from Table 1 in regional-institute link above

1989: 25.6%

1999: 26.6%

2005: 26.9%

and again from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/3611000.html

2010: 29.6%

So if the city's median income is declining and poverty rate growing, even between 2005 to 2010, it seems a difficult claim to make that the city is becoming "wealthier" as Greg's headline says.

Tom
Tom

True great point about that. Your idea about using the promised $1 billion I think would be great. Although I think there is some money here, it just needs to be found. I think someone looking to start up a biotech company, etc. who has a solid, sound business plan could find people a few people to give them the money they need. However I think in other cities the money is more accessible and therefore they live there and not Buffalo.

I think its very interesting, and very necessary for our area. We are already investing in the medical field which I think will be huge in the future and is great. But we need to be more heavily invested in technology to attract professionals to stay here. Those Tech companies need marketing departments, janitors, etc. They will help create jobs for now and the future. I think it would be a great investment for Buffalo to make.

benfranklin
benfranklin

Glad you haven't lost your sense of humor.

YesSir
YesSir

Do they know how much work time you spend blogging here?

r-k-tekt
r-k-tekt

54% for the public schools...with many kids unprepared with poor home lives and UNCARING parents...But as I said there are many other options. Public, vocational, parochial and charter...Your child can find a good education

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

You can "doubt" all you want, I am presently the Director of Facilities and Engineering for a large health care system and I am actually in the top 12% of earners. You have probably benefited from the taxes I have paid over the last 40 years. That said I started at the bottom and have first hand experience of the challenges of poverty.

Up and coming
Up and coming

I thought you were a retired janitor manager? That being said, I doubt you make 75k a year.

Top 10%: $113,799

Top 25%: $67,280

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

I didn't "agree with your point" on 47% not paying any tax, I pointed out how invalid that claim was, you should consider a reading comprehension course.

On the top 20% paying over 50% of taxes, yeah I know, I am in that group but am happy to pay my fair share, it is my responsibility as a citizen.

On the welfare spending line often quoted at 12%, this includes unemployment, workers comp, and other pay as you go programs. Pull out just aid to the poor and that number drops to 5.5% of Federal expenditures, chump change. We spend that much each year on the mortgage interest deduction, a handout to the wealthiest Americans that benefit from 70% of those dollars. I would rather feed and house the poor than subsidize large homes in East Amherst or Spaulding Lake.

YesSir
YesSir

I think even Nancy Pelosi would roll her eyes after hearing your monologue.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

One of your comments began with "Screw'em, I hope they all move out of state", then you went on to say the poor are "lazy" and then topped it all off with a litle good old fashioned racism. It is obvious from your comments that you have issues of arrogance, are overly status conscious and have a sense of entilement.

Please provide examples of "multiple people commenting about how full of crap" I am, last time I checked your comments were the ones deeply in the red.

As for "asking the residents of Bidwell Parkway" I don't quite understand. Is it because they are wealthy "like all your friends"? Does that mean their opinions are somehow more valid? wiser? I don't think so.

Finally I have used the same name here for years, can you make the same claim? or were you the one I took to task for their ignorance of the history of the once independant Village of Black Rock?

Up and coming
Up and coming

.........are you sure you're not part of Rand Financial? Because, last time I checked Rand was based out of Chicago and the 503 area code is Chicago area code, makes ya wonder?

Up and coming
Up and coming

Thank you for agreeing with my point that 47% of Americans pay no tax. Also here's another little sticker shock statistic for you, the top 20 percent of Americans earn 53.4 percent of the total U.S. income, but pay 67.2 of the taxes. Also, welfare makes up 11 percent of the total US budget, thats 910 billion on these programs. (This sum does not include Social Security, Medicare or Unemployment Insurance.) How much is $910 billion? Well, that comes to around $9,000 for each lower-income American. So there's your welfare quote, so now you can call me a welfare hater.

Rand503
Rand503

Although Buffalo has certain advantages, it is not a center for innovation like Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, or other places. One of the major reasons is that there is virtually no private equity money. (Not Romney/Bain PE, but the real stuff -- Venture Capitalists and angel investors who invest in startups and innovative companies). Buffalo isn't alone -- most regions are severely lacking in private equity financing.

You can have the best biotech company, the best alternative energy company or whatever, but if they have no funding, they simply die on the vine. They go nowhere. Typically, a start up that's going anywhere needs anywhere from 1 to 3 million dollars. There are no firms in Buffalo prepared to spend even a fraction of that money, let alone all of it. So those companies locate to the places where there is funding. If a Silicon VAlley VC is willing to put a lot of money into a company, they may require the company to move there so that they can keep an eye on their investment.

Until Buffalo develops a private equity industry, it just ain't happening. Now, if our leaders were serious about developing an industry of innovative companies, they could take $50 million of that state allocation of a billion dollars, that would do more to bring the best companies from all over the US and Canada than building all these shiny new buildings.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

I will go slow so you can understand. The bottom 40% control 1% of our economy. The top 10% (not 1%) control 80%, the rest of us (50%) divide the remaining 19%. Who is more responsible for the state of our economy? Who has the influence and power to bring change?

As for your Fox talking point of 47% don't pay any tax, I thought I clarified for you yesterday, 28% of those people are RETIRED, the other 19% are making slave wages and though they don't pay FEDERAL INCOME TAX they are nickled and dimed by regressive sales taxes, FICA, medicare, and many other taxes and fees that fall most heavily on the poorest workers.

Up and coming
Up and coming

I should really slow down....

Who should we blame 40% of the public or 1%? You're right we should def blame 1% and forgive the 47% of Americans who pay no tax what so ever....come on man give it up.

Up and coming
Up and coming

Who should be blame 40% or the public or 1%? You're right we should def blame 1% and forgive the 47% of Americans who pay no tax what so ever....come on man give it up.

Rand503
Rand503

Drugs are a major problem in Amherst and Clarence. The difference is that there is plenty of money there, and the kids have too much. They can easily score whatever hits they want, so there is no need for crime. So it's a bit different.

Eric
Eric

Congratulations on posting possibly the most negatively reviewed comment in BR history. At least it's the worst I've ever seen.

The author is trying to make the point that things my be heading in the right direction. I mean we don't want to be the poorest city do we?

If people only come here to poo poo the positive changes in Buffalo why don't you start your own website. Call it Buffalo: Same As it Ever Was or whatever. Bring all the naysayers and pessimists with you. That way this site can continue to focus on improving the city and finding answers to our problems.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

OK, we can agree the rich and the poor contribute to our problems but lets look at the facts. As I stated, the bottom 40% of Americans, almost half of our citizens share just 1% of our nations wealth. Do you really believe that 1% of our economy and wealth is holding us back? The top 10% control 80% of our nations wealth, the rest of us (50%) divide up the remaining 19%. Which group should be held more accountable for the state of our economy and our society? Which group has the power and influence to affect change and bring about a more equitable and fair state?

Up and coming
Up and coming

Lol, I find it funny you claim that I hate the poor and welfare when I've never mentioned welfare on this site? Then you point to the rich and corporations as being the end all be all to America way of life. We could be talking about Alaskian dog racing and you'd bring up wealth equality and a living wage, it's really a joke. Especially when you see multiple people commenting about how full of crap you are. Also, if you think BRO is the moral compass on all things right and wrong you are seriously misguided, just ask the residents of Bidwell how they feel about the commenters opinions on here. And if you think I'm "over my head here" you should go back to read some of your previous comments about how Black Rock paid for all of its own infrastructure when it was a "private village", good luck on that one.

gtscout716
gtscout716

Please tell me where I blame welfare for ALL of WNY's problems. You can't because I didn't. If you read my posts I say having twice the national average in benefits is a detriment to the economy of the entire state, not the root cause of everything wrong in the region.

You can do more than one thing. You can deal with the subsidies given both to the rich and poor. But to blame all the problems of our city on the rich is not only insulting to the rich by assuming they don't earn anything they have, but also the poor by saying they effectively have no control over their lives.

I agree that subsidies to the rich are out of control also, but on the local level, we are absolutely overburdened with subsidizing and reinforcing poverty and no one wants to address that.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Look, you are really out of your league here. If you are going to spout hateful, inaccurate, and just plain ignorant crap you will be challenged, this isn't WBEN 930 or the Buffalo News site. Your negative score totals seem to indicate most others do not agree with your rhetoric.

Up and coming
Up and coming

"I agree that bottom 40% should be held responsible for 1% of our problems."

Who are you agreeing with....yourself? LOLOLOLOL!

Up and coming
Up and coming

That's what's called a setup comment. If you notice in my before comment I put about poor people erroding neighborhoods and this was your response....

"As for those neighborhoods that "they" (as in black I assume) have eroded,"

...if you weren't thinking it, you wouldnt have said it. Looks like you can only hide behind your "hood of self-righteousness" for so long.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Funny thing is your posts have a "one track mindset" of blaming the poor and especially welfare for all our problems. The poor and welfare are chump change, the bottom 40% of Americans share as a group just 1% of our nations wealth. I agree that bottom 40% should be held responsible for 1% of our problems.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

The hood comes off, so it is all the black peoples fault, thanks for confirming your underlying racism.

Up and coming
Up and coming

I totally agree, but those houses were more affordable that say areas around Delaware Park and Starin. This in turn made them easier for lower class blacks to move into. My grandpa used to tell me the old saying was, "once the first black moves in, all the whites move out." This was just the thinking of the times, but we can tell now that they might have been on to something.

Up and coming
Up and coming

"So according to your simplistic logic- lower middle class= crime and drugs."

Correct, and honeslty I don't see what the argument is. It's a known fact that poverty crime and drugs are all connected. You don't see people from East Amherst or Clarence shooting people to get their prescription drug fix do you? Check out the news article in today's paper about the 8 homicides in Buffalo being unsolved drug related crimes. Also, these crimes are committed by people selling drugs, not taking them. Ps I've heard you say on here before about how you see prostitutes giving guys in Mercedes the ol' handy j and how drug deals going on with "middle class" white kids in your neighborhood etc. I think this says more about Black Rock than any of your other posts combined.

gtscout716
gtscout716

I don't know why you're on this one-track mindset where anyone who is productive or wealthy is the root of all problems. Are there people all over who buy drugs? Of course. But don't say you have kids coming in from Amherst and Tonawanda and committing most of the drive-by shootings, the robberies, break-ins etc. The neighbors of the poor kids in Tonawanda don't put up with shot fired all night, with breaking into vacant houses, throwing your garbage on the lawn - so why is this acceptable in the city?

It's a culture problem for those in poverty that causes these issues. Until those in poverty decide to take responsibility for themselves and have some pride in their communuity. The rich have nothing to do with this, so stop blaming them.

flyguy
flyguy

Historically when those areas were lower middle class residents actually cared for their neighbors and their homes. Its a whole diferent ball game there now. Those houses were in good shape and cared for many decades. Its a cultural shift.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

So according to your simplistic logic- lower middle class= crime and drugs. That statement would be laughable if it was not so arrogant, misinformed, and elitist. Drug use is relatively consistent among all levels of income or status. The kids I see buying drugs here in Black Rock are almost all white, middle class, and driving nice vehicles. A drug counselor I work with told me the new drug problem is prescription drug abuse by middle class and wealthy white kids. When those kids get caught daddy lawyers up and keeps them from facing the consequences, another entitlement not available to poor kids.

Up and coming
Up and coming

Buffalo's graduation rate is 54%, so let's not paint that picture to brightly.

Up and coming
Up and coming

Wrong, it has to do with housing stock. The larger and nicer the homes the more affluent people you get in the neighborhood. Look at Broadway or Bailey. Both are dense (or once were) walkable neighborhoods, but are filled with crime and poverty and why is that? Because the housing stock was always lower middle class which allowed lower middle class residents to move in, which then in turn allowed the crime and drugs to follow.

r-k-tekt
r-k-tekt

Buffalo has abundant school choice. Although the Buffalo Public Schools have their problems, City Honors, Olmsted, Discovery 67, Montessori, 81 offer excellent educations. McKinley, Emerson Culinary and Hutch Tech offer superb vocational ed not even attempted in the suburbs, let alone other parts of the nation. For those that want charter schools, Buffalo had less than 500 seats in 2000, now there are over 7500. If a parochial school is desired the Bison fund provides vouchers to families who need subsidies....There are numerous GOOD choices to families that CARE about their kid's education. I cannot stess the CARE part enough... Get off the mantra that that their are no good elementary and high school educational opportunities in Buffalo

gtscout716
gtscout716

Exactly - we can't pretend massaging some numbers means we're suddenly the next Pittsburgh. There are serious issues that need to be addressed in neighborhoods that are still salvagable. But if we ignore them and throw attention and money to the neighborhoods that are long dead, we're only hurting ourselves. Why fund barbershops and new builds over on Jefferson? You can't have critical mass when you don't have any mass at all. Yet we throw money down these rabbit holes while anyone with two bits flees Kensington-Bailey, flees the Heights, flees South Buffalo because there is no attention for these people. The same scene has played out over and over for the past 50 years.

Let's build on what we have, and help the working and middle classes that we desperately need.

pampiniform
pampiniform

If this is true, I would think the main thing contributing to it is the fact that the East Side is disappearing. The amount of urban prairie that has emerged around Broadway/Fillmore, along Genesee, and now along Walden and Sycamore in the last 10 years is staggering. I used to work in the area 10 or so years ago, and to see what happened to the streets there is amazing. I remember Gittere Street was definitely a run down neighborhood then. But now there is nothing left there. The houses and trees gone, in the matter of less than a decade. There are numerous blocks like that in that area and all over the east, and it doesn't look like it's going to stop anytime soon. And that is spreading into Cheektowaga now. The area around Pine Ridge/ is going the way of the East Side. The young people with means are getting out, leaving the older home owners behind. Once the older population goes to the nursing home or dies, the decay will keep spreading out until it hits the Thruway.

And that decay is spreading into South Buffalo as well. The area around Seneca Street by Cazenovia is definitely another area that is beginning to follow the same path. I am amazed to see boarded up houses and demolitions appear in what were once some of the best residential streets in the city.

I want to believe that Buffalo is on the rebound, but when I see the continued decay of the majority of the city, I find it hard to be optimistic about the fact that the city managed to add 400 or so people with bachelor's degrees per year over the past decade.

gtscout716
gtscout716

I don't think it is... looking at the upper income map, you honestly can't tell me Riverside, South Buffalo, and North Buffalo outside of Starin and Parkside are doing better than they were 10 years ago. Definitely some positive momentum in some neighborhoods, which is good but Census data shows bad news for a lot of the city. For example, median household income was down by half in Riverside while the population increased - not a good sign for what was a working class neighborhood.

Which is exactly why Mayor Urkel and yes men like LoCurto and Russel need to get their heads out of their asses and start putting money where it matters - the working and middle classes.

gtscout716
gtscout716

Cyclical... a product of their environment... it can't be helped.

Why are you making the poor out to be helpless, unable to take charge of their own destiny? There were poor 60 years ago, poor that were much worse off in terms of welfare, finances and quality of life (look at pictures of the slums that were cleared downtown around then - worse than almost anything you'll find today).

But even with this poverty, they were able to live civilized lives. They took pride in where they lived, the fostered a real community, and had no where near the amount of violence there was today. Why is it today it must be so different? If I drive across main, around Riverside or the Heights, what is so different that people can't pick the garbage off their lawns, can't mow once a week, or not brawl in the streets? This lack of self-respect and consideration is what sends neighborhood after neighborhood crumbling. And no change in housing patterns is going to stop it until the attitude finally changes.

gtscout716
gtscout716

Black Rock, I am also in the city in Buffalo and you could not tell me with a straight face that NYS welfare benefits are not a bit to much. Your wife is a social worker, so I'm sure she sees the many taking advantage of the system. As my own spouse works for social services with BPS, I can't tell you the number of people who come up to here specifically for the most generous benefits in the country. This has a real cost.

Why are we spending nearly double the national average on welfare? Where is the follow up with some of the obvious disability, child care, and EBT fraud? Walk into any of those mini-marts in a given city neighborhood and I can guarantee you'll see some fraud going down.

Why do we spend so much on housing subsidies, Belmont and section 8, when we have so much housing available? In our housing market, all this is doing is inflating rents for opportunistic landlords and the working who don't qualify for benefits. Why are we endlessly renovating BMHA projects that get trashed within a year, when we have working class people in Riverside and N. Buffalo who can't afford to fix their roofs?

I'm a liberal like many on this site, however even I can see our overloaded welfare system is a serious drag on the economy of the area.

Preservationguy
Preservationguy

Interesting to see this growth of income and skill is occurring in and around places with a high concentration of characteristics associated with smart growth (walkability, density, mixed uses, adaptive reuses etc). Demonstrating that people are voting with their feet for this living environment is a good reason for the public sector to expand and enact guidelines and incentives that encourage this form of development. Well done.

pjdunn
pjdunn

As a late-twenties professional living in the City, this is exciting stuff to read. I relocated from Pittsburgh to Buffalo about a year ago - admittedly not because of a love affair with Buffalo, but for other reasons. I miss Pittsburgh. That said, I do believe your comments that "It's not a Detroit. It's a Pittsburgh" is correct, and I hope to see it come to fruition over the coming years..

mp1
mp1

66% of all people know that. ;)

Rand503
Rand503

Although I love this article, and agree it's an eye opener, I have a difficult time believing that Buffalo is on a comeback when the overall population is still shrinking tremendously.

I hope I am wrong, though.

Trackbacks

  1. […] girlfriend is on the verge of finishing a PhD, and he is working on his bachelor’s degree. As detailed here in Buffalo Rising, he is indicative of a trend that is impacting Buffalo and cities broadly speaking: well educated, […]

© 2014 Hyperlocal Media. All Rights Reserved.