“We have this syndrome of educating our kids here and then they are gone” in search of jobs in regions of the country that are growing, he said.
New York’s population as a whole increased by more than 192,000 people — or 1 percent — in the 27 months leading to July 1, 2012, according to the Census Bureau.
Vink said most of that growth came in New York City and its suburbs.
The upstate county with the biggest percentage increase was Jefferson, with a 3.5 percent boost in the number of residents. However, Vink said, the phenomenon did not result from an expansion of jobs in the private sector but rather by virtue of the fact that Jefferson County is home to Fort Drum, a major U.S. Army base.
Gene Milone, the Schoharie town supervisor, said the region is sending a bad message to young families by not having adequate facilities to care for frail senior citizens. Some families in Schoharie County, he said, have been force to send their elderly loved ones to nursing homes outside the state.
“How do you cope with that?” he asked. “The state and the federal government are walking away from our senior citizens.”
As for those who were flooded out of their homes, Sarah Goodrich, executive director of the flood relief project Schoharie SALT, said many residents want to return to their homes if they can be repaired.
Towards that end, Fenimore Asset Management, a private investment firm, donated $250,000 Thursday to match contributions that the organization has received from other groups and individuals. Among organizations that have been generous in giving to flood victims has been Catholic Charities, which has kicked in $170,000 to help 83 families get back on their feet, officials said.
‘“Overall, we’re seeing more hope as people see more progress being made,” said Goodrich.
Schoharie County Treasurer William Cherry said it remains to be seen whether the county will be able to get back the people it lost because of the flood.
“Without some private industry bringing in jobs, there is no way the population will grow, and certainly any recovery will be a faltering one,” said Cherry. “The experts say it takes up to 10 years for a community to recover after an event like that flood. Another event would definitely change the dynamics.”