A recently released county-specific report from a Rochester agency indicates that Yates is the only county in a nine-county region in which the median household income kept up with inflation since 2000.

ACT Rochester released county-specific report cards in mid-April. ACT Rochester’s purpose is to change the culture of community problem solving and associated decision-making through the use of credible, independent and timely data. ACT Rochester is a community indicators program of Rochester Area Community Foundation.

As with all the others, the Yates County Report Card aggregates data from more than 100 community indicators and uses symbols, colors and arrows to provide a quick overview of the well-being of the county. This data covers the topics of Arts, Culture and Leisure, Children and Youth, Community Engagement, Economy, Education, Financial Self-Sufficiency, Health, Housing, and Public Safety.

In the nine-county region, Yates County is a statistical outlier. As home to three of the Finger Lakes, the county’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and tourism. Yates is the least diverse county in the Finger Lakes Region — with a population that is 97 percent white, but nonetheless has seen growth in its small Asian, African American, and Hispanic populations. Yates has one of the highest child poverty rates in the region. The unemployment rate has rebounded since the Great Recession, and though average salaries are relatively low, Yates was the only regional county in which median household income kept up with inflation since 2000.

Regional Perspective

Overall, the Report Card shows that the region is doing as well or better than New York State in five of nine areas: Children, Community Engagement, the Economy, Financial Self-Sufficiency and Housing. The region is performing slightly worse than the state in Education. Areas in which the region trails the state by 10 percent or more include the Arts, Health, and Public Safety.

Ann Johnson, ACT Rochester’s senior director, recently provided an overview of the report and said that only three of the 18 grades changed since last year.

Education, which had previously performed better than New York State, is now slightly worse, although Yates County’s long term trend is improvement. The indicators driving the change were English exam results for 4th Grade and 8th Grade. The rate of children receiving public assistance decreased from 2015. Health trends that saw improvement last year, remain unchanged.

Other areas in the regional report include

• Voter Registration and Participation: In 2016 (a presidential election year), 58 percent of residents in the region voted, while statewide turnout was 50 percent. Between 78 percent and 85 percent of the region’s voting-age population has been registered to vote since 2000, consistently higher than statewide rates.

• Earned Income Tax Credit: In 2015, payments from the EITC amounted to $179 per resident in the region, a 5 percent increase from 2011. This is substantially lower than statewide ($218) and national figures ($215). Assuming 10,000 low-income residents accessed the same payment amount as the state, the $26 difference could bring an additional $230,000 to our residents and communities.

• Charitable Contributions as a Percent of Income: Charitable giving supports a wide variety of organizations, including those that provide essential services to the community and people in need. In 2015, residents in the region gave 1.9 percent of their income as charitable contributions, below the levels for the state (2.4 percent) and nation (2.2 percent).

• Employment-to-Population Ratio: The ratio is an indicator of people’s willingness and ability to find work. The employment-to-population ratio for the region was 73 percent in 2016, decreasing from 78 percent in 2000. In a period of rapid economic growth, a larger share of the population (including teens, second earners in a family, and elders) will be enticed into the workforce.

• Total Population: From 2000 to 2016, the total population of the nine-county Rochester region grew 1.1 percent, with just over 1.2 million residents calling the area home in 2016. This compares to growth of 4 percent statewide and 15 percent across the country. The City of Rochester had a population decline of 5 percent since 2000.

• Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Since 2000: The nine-county Rochester region has become increasingly diverse. Between 2000 and 2012-16, the greatest increase (57 percent) occurred in the group identifying as Hispanic. Growth over that time also was substantial among the Asian (51 percent) and African American (12 percent) populations, in contrast to the 1 percent decline in the white population.

See the complete report here.

See the Yates County report here.