NEWCOMB - Adirondack residents are indeed relatively poor, aging and under-educated and the area is hemorrhaging local youth - or so are the findings of the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project which was released this week by the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages.
"School enrollments in the park have decreased 329 students annually throughout the current decade," the APRAP states. "The equivalent of the loss of one Adirondack school district every 19 months."
Local officials are calling the release of the huge plethora of data as a seminal event in Adirondack history which will define debate and discourse within the park for generations to come.
"It's the basis for future Adirondack policy," Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board executive director Fred Monroe said June 9. "We tried to just focus on the facts and to draw as few conclusions as possible."
According to the APRAP the average median household income in the park is approximately $43,000 annually - about $8,000 below the national average. Meanwhile, housing prices are skyrocketing in many tourist-driven communities,
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resulting in large portions of populations in the park's center who are ineligible to own homes by default.
Roughly 40 percent of private Adirondack parcels are owned by people with addresses outside of the Blue Line with housing prices being dictated by second-homeowners in many communities.
The largest employers in the park are correctional facilities, with public schools and municipal highway departments running close behind. Over 44 percent of Adirondack residents are employed in the public sector.
The median age of an Adirondack resident is 43 years of age, while New York State as a whole has an average population age of 35.5 years.
The report states, the Adirondack population mirrors the retirement communities of Western Florida and are some of the oldest in the nation.