Census on the web!

ALBANY (AP) — Census estimates released Tuesday show growth in the New York City region over the last decade and a continuing exodus from some upstate areas.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 19.5 million people lived in New York state on July 1, 2009, up by more than a half-million since the last official count in 2000. New York City accounted for most of that growth — 383,195 people — though Long Island and suburban Hudson Valley counties also grew in the last decade.

New York City’s growth has been helped by thriving immigrant communities. Some suburban growth north of New York City has been attributed to jittery city residents moving after the Sept. 11 attacks. Fast-growing Mid-Hudson Valley areas like Orange County also benefited from house hunters priced out of more expensive areas closer to the city.

The story was different in many upstate areas, which have been losing population for decades as people, especially young college graduates, leave for the South and West. The Census reports that the fastest population decreases among counties were rural. Topping the list was northern New York’s Hamilton County, which lost 8.4 percent of its population since 2000; Delaware County, which lost 5.3 percent; and Cattaraugus County, which lost 5.1 percent.

Erie County, home to Buffalo, lost 4.3 percent of its population and had the largest numerical drop of any county: 41,018.

The estimates are based on records of births, deaths and migration patterns. That differs from the actual population count now under way.

The official Census numbers are used as a basis to dole out government aid and to determine political representation. New York is expected to lose one or more congressional seats after this Census.

On the Web: www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html