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DIGGING DEEPER: What’s driving people out of the Southern Tier?

(WBNG) — New York State is losing more and more people every year, and the Southern Tier has significantly seen a decline in millennials.

Kevin Davie is 26-years-old and currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina after growing up in Sidney.

“It was a small town,” said Davie. “Everybody knew everybody. I grew up in the same house.”

Davie is a millennial, which is someone who was born between the early 1980s and early 2000s. It’s a generation that the Southern Tier has seen leave at a rapid rate in recent years.

Davie said many factors made him want to head down to South Carolina.

“It’s a whole new world down here where you’re two hours from the beach, you’re four hours form Atlanta, you’re an hour and a half from Charlotte. Rent is super cheap here. You got all those options,” said Davie.

According to the Cornell University population census data, Broome County alone has seen a loss of 6,870 people from 2010 to 2017. Every other county in the Southern Tier has seen a loss of 5,000 people or less over the same course of time.

12 News turned to Democratic Broome County Executive Jason Garnar about the area’s significant decline. Garnar admitted that the Southern Tier is struggling to keep up with the younger crowd.

“We go to the colleges when they graduate, we try to recruit them…and more often than not, they choose some place other than Broome County to work,” said Garnar.

Garnar said his county is investing in things such as LUMA to get younger people to flock to the area.

“If you look at the Greater Binghamton fund, we’re investing $20 million in Binghamton, Johnson City, Endicott, the urban areas to develop murals and streetscapes, and make it a more inviting and friendly place for and aesthetically pleasing place for people to shop and live,” said Garnar.

Meanwhile, Ithaca and Tompkins County is growing in both people and jobs.

“I’m thrilled that we’re growing,” said Democratic Mayor of Ithaca, Svante Myrick, who is a millennial himself and said he tries to attract young professionals. “We’re setting the signal that Ithaca is open for business, business that is ethical, that is culturally appropriate, and that is sustainable. Turns out that’s a winning message so far.”

While the Tompkins County region is growing, recent data has projected the Southern Tier will lose an estimated 33,000 people by the year 2040.

Official numbers from the Cornell University population census data can be researched here.

Anne Sparaco

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