Study says Orleans one of hardest places to live in NY

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Nationally, Orleans ranks more in middle of pack

File photo by Tom Rivers – A study that measures household income, unemployment, obesity rates and other factors says Orleans County ranks in the bottom half of the country.

A study that looks at 3,135 counties across the United States puts Orleans County below average at 1,894 based on a ranking of quality of life issues.

However, when comparing counties in New York State, Orleans would be the sixth hardest to live out of 62 counties.

The New York Times used six criteria for determining the rankings for an article called, “Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.?

The report is based on ranking the median household income ($50,113 in Orleans), education or percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree (15.8 percent in Orleans), unemployment rate (10.4 percent), disability rate (1.3 percent), life expectancy (78.3 years) and obesity (41 percent).

In New York state, five counties ranked worse than Orleans, including Fulton County (ranked 1,992), St. Lawrence (2,048), Oswego (2,052), Cattaraugus (2,064) and Montgomery (2,149).

In Montgomery, the median household income is $42,830, more than $7,000 less than in Orleans. Montgomery tops Orleans with a 16.1 percent college educate rate, ties with a 10.4 percent unemployment rate, has a higher disability rate (2.1 percent), a similar life expectancy at 78 years and a slightly lower obesity rate at 39 percent.

The upstate counties that are in the worse shape or considered the hardest places to live are a long ways from the bottom of the heap nationally. Consider Breathitt County in Kentucky, ranked 3,129 of 3,135 overall. That county has a median household income of 23,049, a college education rate of 10.2 percent, an 11.9 percent unemployment rate, 11.5 percent of adults on disability, a life expectancy of 71.4 and an obesity rate of 47 percent.

Six counties in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky are among the 10 hardest places to live in the country, according to the report.

Six of the top 10 counties are in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. New York state has six counties in the top 200, including Tompkins at 170, Saratoga at 129, Westchester at 98, Rockland at 96, Putnam at 66 and Nassau at 63.