~ Syracuse Abandoned ~

What caused the rush to the suburbs, the abandonment of older neighborhoods and the emptying of downtown?

Onondaga County and City of Syracuse
U.S. Census Population Figures, 1800 to 2000

  • When the City of Syracuse was incorporated in 1847 it represented about 20% of Onondaga County's population.

  • From 1850 to 1930 almost all population growth in Onondaga County took place within the City.  By 1930, Syracuse accounted for more than 70% of the county's population.

  • In 1900 Syracuse ranked among the nation's 30 most populous cities. Syracuse was:

    • Larger than Denver until 1890,

    • Larger than Los Angeles until 1910,

    • Larger than Dallas until 1930,

    • Larger than Miami until 1950.

    • Today Syracuse ranks 142nd in population nationally.

  • Population trends went flat during the depression years.  Following World War II the county resumed its growth while the city stalled, then started loosing population as city residents moved to new homes outside the city limits.

  • The population of Syracuse peaked  at 220,000 in 1950.

    • Since 1950, the city has lost fully one-third of its population more than 70,000 residents.

    • Today Syracuse represents only one-third of the county's population.  Is it any wonder that one out of every seven housing units in Syracuse is now empty double the state-wide average?

  • Onondaga County's population peaked in 1970 at 473,000.

    • From 1970 to 2000 the county lost 15,000 residents about 3%.

    • During that same time period Syracuse lost almost 50,000 residents or 25% of its population.

  • Demolition is far more prevalent in Syracuse than new construction.

    • From 1990 to 1999 the City of Syracuse issued more than twice as many demolition permits (2,003) as it did building permits (881) more than 200 demolition permits per year. 

    • From 2000 to 2004 the city issued more than five times as many demolition permits (1,579) as it did building permits (300) more than 300 demolition permits per year.

  • In 2000, the median family income for city residents was $25,000; for county residents outside Syracuse it was almost double that $45,000.

  • In 2000, only 6% of county residents outside Syracuse were below the poverty threshold; the figure inside Syracuse was more than four times that 27%.

    • The poverty rate is even higher for Syracuse children. More than one third of all children under the age of 18 in the city live below the poverty threshold.

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