This post was written by Connor Balough
ALBANY- Plagued by sky-high taxes, the coldest winters, the largest continuous loss of residents of any region in America, and the percentage of residents on some sort of government assistance or subsidy to survive, Upstate New York was ranked by a leading journal in Albany the worst place in America to live.
“The poverty and unemployment rate among millennials is at almost 30%. Most people can barely afford to pay their bills in the harsh winters. The economy dries up when all the folks with money leave Upstate New York in the summer. It’s just a bad place to be right now.” Said journal President Ricky Bohl.
Sure enough, only last year it was predicted that for the first time in American history, Florida would surpass New York State in population. The results of the mass exodus of residents from Upstate can be seen in many of the vacant and rundown mill towns across the state.
A recent study by Business Insider found that 2 out of 5 of the most depressed cities in America are also located in Upstate New York. The newest findings by the Journal only confirm what’s long been suspected.
One millennial who was a candidate in a local race for office in Upstate New York wasn’t even allowed to participate after his signatures were challenged for ballot access. Al Thoma was running for school board in Albany when a 6o+ year old woman who he has never heard of challenged his petitions. When asked about the New York State Election System, Al said, “What system? You mean the Lineal succession of democratic oppression? How it’s fixed against independents…”
FREE TRADE DEALS GUTTED NYS:
Since 1989, the average income for a person living in upstate New York has plummeted $6,000 AFTER inflation. Manufacturing jobs are leaving, as a result of NAFTA and other “deals” that have enriched businesses but left New Yorkers without any income or job.
The journal also found that over 50% of millennial candidates for office in Upstate New York are excluded from running after local election boards disqualify them for technicalities. This has contributed to a large brain drain from the region as millennials not only have no jobs or hope for an adult future, but are denied from participating in their communities. So the answer for them? They are leaving.
In the last decade, the total number given is about 1.6 million people. If not for New York City’s huge influx of foreign immigrants, the population would be dropping rather than just staying stagnant.
The biggest problem here is that while the young people are leaving, it’s leaving an aging population stuck to clean up the mess they created. New York home owners regularly face the highest tax burden in the country. If not for New York City’s constant young population moving in as others move out, the state would be in a state of social security emergency.
When it’s not electoral suppression or freezing cold winters 8 months at a stretch, it’s police brutality that is causing discord.
New York’s one system rule has led to some of the worst cronyism in the country for local governments and police forces. The most known is that of the son of a police commander in Upstate New York who beat and abused his teenage girlfriend for years in his hometown with impunity. When neighbors or the girl’s mother called police to the house over due to screams or statements to her family of abuse, the police officers would talk to the Commander’s son and then call his father. This went on for years even escalating to a swat standoff after the son burned the girl with cigarettes and put a gun to her head while she was on the phone with her mom.
After the three hour standoff, which was downplayed by the local media, the son was transported to a local psychiatric center where he was monitored for 24 hours for possible suicidal thoughts. After being released, he went back to his apartment, where he beat the girl for getting the police and his father there in the first place.
A recent collection of photos by photographer Brenda Kenneally titled “Upstate Girls” highlights the gripping poverty of Upstate. Brenda asked a 14 year old pregnant teenager if she could photograph her over the course of her pregnancy in 2003. After the girl said yes, what came next was ten years of cataloging the poverty that surrounded the girl’s life. The photos made it into the New York Times, causing outrage across the internet over certain behaviors of those being photographed.
Upstate New York is likely to remain on the list of the worst region in America to live in for some time. Food prices are higher than the national average, gas is among the highest in the country, and income tax remains the worst. All of these and a surplus of citizens looking for jobs, with a limited amount available in the state, keeps employers from having to remain competitive with salaries and benefits. The current system has no signs of changing either. The voters who own homes in New York, while under constant strain, don’t know anything different and thus show no signs to call for change. Since they don’t realize how broken everything is in the first place, the exodus of people and wealth will continue unabated.
According to the website howmoneywalks.com, using data of how money travels out of certain states and into others using IRS records of income migration, New York has lost over $80 billion dollars since 1993. This alarming trend is only getting worse every year.
Within 50 years things could change. Regions are always fluctuating up and down in prosperity. But for now, the Journal concludes that Upstate New York is the worst place one can live.