More seniors choose Yates, Schuyler
TRI-COUNTY AREA—Senior citizens are a growing population segment in Yates and Schuyler Counties.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the counties with the highest senior citizen populations are clumped together in north-east New York. Those counties include Hamilton, Essex, Delaware, Warren and Montgomery.
However, Schuyler and Yates are seventh and ninth highest in the state. The Census Bureau said Schuyler’s over 65 years old population in 2009 was 16.8 percent. This is up from 14.7 percent from 2000.
In 2009, Yates’s senior population was 16.6 percent. This is also up, from 15.6 percent in 2000. The state average is 13.4 percent and the highest rate was 21.7 percent, in Hamilton County.
Katie Smeenk, director of the Pro Action Yates Aging and Youth Services department, said Yates County is an extremely attractive place to relocate to and retire in. One of the reasons for the draw she points to is Yates, and the Finger Lakes, being a rural area. She said seniors move here because of the scenic beauty, the lakes, and the lifestyle available.
Smeenk said the rural setting is usually less stressful. She added that the Finger Lakes offers things for seniors to do, like art programs and college classes. Agencies like Office for the Aging offer daily events for seniors as well.
She points to one study by the Community and Rural Development and Cornell University’s Department of Development Sociology, which covers retirement destinations nationwide. The study says seniors moving to non-metropolitan counties has been consistent across the U.S. for the last 30 years.
Tamre Waite, director of Schuyler County’s Office for the Aging, said Schuyler has one of the highest senior citizen population rates because most seniors don’t leave the area. She said they have families here and feel comfortable here.
According to the Census, Schuyler County’s population decreased from 19,222 in 2000, to 18,720 in 2009. So if seniors stay in Schuyler and the population still goes down, the over 65 group is a larger percentage.
Waite added there are many seniors who live in the area during the summer, and live south in the winter. She explained she notices their departure from coming to things like the lunch program Office for the Aging offers.
In comparison to surrounding counties, Steuben’s and Chemung’s senior population was 15.6 percent. Tioga’s was 15.2 percent.