Politicians in both parties have tried for decades to reverse the migration trend, but the latest county figures show only 10 of 53 upstate counties had positive migration numbers over the year period. Top-growing Jefferson County is home to the Army’s busy Fort Drum. No. 2 is Saratoga County, where a state-of-the-art computer chip plant that currently employs 2,100 people is still growing.
New York committed $1.2 billion in aid to land the Saratoga County chip plant, where ground was broken in 2009. The aid package illustrates the extraordinary lengths state officials have gone to bring jobs into the region. Supporters of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s policy to create “tax free” zones near college campuses argue they will help stop the brain drain in other parts of the state.
But they also are battling long-term trends that reach beyond upstate New York. Vink, of Cornell University, notes that young people are especially hard to retain.
“It’s a hard population to keep around,” he said “They are very mobile.”
Staff writer Mark Boshnack contributed to this story.