Below the Line: An Analysis of Barriers to Opportunity in Syracuse

Syracuse was recently named the 9th most impoverished city in the country according to data published by the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS). The City’s Office of Accountability, Performance, and Innovation, working alongside the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, recently released an analysis of poverty in the city and key barriers to progress. The report focused on 2017 ACS data, and was supplemented with additional data obtained from working with community partners.

In performing the analysis, the City’s goal was to explore the data, identify areas where we lag behind peer cities in Upstate New York, and find where we can have the largest impact in improving people’s lives. According to the analysis, five conditions more negatively impact people in Syracuse than in other Upstate cities.

  • Workforce Participation – the share of people not in the workforce increased in 2017 while other Upstate cities saw declines or only a slight increase.

  • Educational Attainment – while graduation rates improved, Syracuse lags significantly behind Buffalo and Albany in Third Grade English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency.

  • Transportation – compared to other Upstate cities, Syracuse has the highest percentage of people using public transportation who do not have access to a vehicle.

  • Housing Stability – twenty percent of children ages 0-17 have moved within a year, similar to other Upstate cities.

  • Digital Access – one out of two residents don’t have access to a computer at home with broadband, the highest percent of residents lacking internet access across the Upstate cities.

To learn more about the ACS data and barriers to progress in the City, see the full report below. We will continue monitoring this data as it’s released by the Census Bureau to help inform decisions as we work to combat poverty in our community.

You can download the pdf of the report here: