Monroe County Data and Trends
Monroe County Data and Trends
Monroe County Report Card
The Monroe County Report Card aggregates data from more than 100 community indicators on the site and use symbols, colors and arrows to provide a quick, at-a-glance overview of the well-being of the county. This data cover the topics of Arts, Culture and Leisure, Children and Youth, Community Engagement, Economy, Education, Financial Self-Sufficiency, Health, Housing, and Public Safety.
Monroe County is the region’s urban center and reflects the highs and lows, and stark disparities, of the Finger Lakes region. It has the most educated adult population and high-performing suburban districts but also the highest child poverty rate and the lowest high school graduation rate. Monroe is the most diverse county and home to most of the region’s arts and tourist attractions.
Monroe is by far the largest county in the region, with almost two-thirds of the total regional population, giving it an outsized influence on regional statistics. Monroe is considered home to the urban and suburban portions of the census-defined Rochester Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), while the counties of Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne, and Yates comprise the exurbs and rural areas of the metro. All municipalities in the MSA with over 25,000 population are within Monroe County.
Monroe contains many of the most visited and well-known tourist attractions in the region, including The National Museum of Play, The George Eastman Museum, The Memorial Art Gallery, Seabreeze Amusement Park, Mount Hope Cemetery (home to the remains of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, among others), Seneca Park Zoo, and Highland Park (site of the Lilac Festival). In particular, Rochester hosts many well-attended festivals throughout the year, including the Lilac Festival and the Xerox Jazz Festival.
Rochester is home to many prestigious colleges and universities, including the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Nazareth College, SUNY Brockport, and St. John Fisher College.
Throughout most of the 20th century, Rochester was known as headquarters of the “big three” imaging companies – Xerox, Eastman Kodak, and Bausch & Lomb – which together employed more than 15% of the nonfarm employment in 1981. However, their role as anchors of regional employment has abated as Kodak has entered bankruptcy and Xerox and Bausch & Lomb have moved their headquarters from Rochester. Today, the top regional employers are the University of Rochester, Wegmans, and the Rochester General Health System.
Various indicators highlighted below will include a comparison to the City of Rochester. Rochester has long struggled with entrenched and concentrated poverty, which is reflected in sometimes striking disparities between the city and the county for economic and quality of life indicators. It is important to note that the Monroe County figures all include the residents of the City of Rochester; for example, while the overall child poverty rate in Monroe is 23% and the rate in the city is 52%, the rate for the county outside of the city is just 7%. Comparisons between Monroe and Rochester should not be interpreted as comparisons between the city and the suburbs.
Monroe County is the population center of the Rochester region, accounting for 62% of the total, yet the county's population has grown by just 2.0% since 2000. Monroe had just under 750,000 residents in 2015, with 28% of those residents living in the City of Rochester. Rochester lost about 5% of its population between 2000 and 2015, compared to a 4% increase in the state and a 14% increase nationwide.
Similar to the state, nation, and the rest of the region, Monroe’s population is aging:
- From 2000 to 2015, the population 85 and over grew by 37% in Monroe, similar to a 39% increase statewide and a 48% increase for the nation. In stark contrast, the City of Rochester saw a decline of 17% in this age group over that period.
- Monroe’s population between 60 and 84 grew by 35%, above the state but below the nation (46%) and region (39%). This age group in the City of Rochester increased by 18%; all other age groups decreased in population in the City of Rochester.
- The share of residents 20 and younger in Monroe fell by 13%, compared to a statewide decrease of 9% and a national increase of 2%.
Monroe County is the most racially and ethnically diverse county in the region, and has become more diverse since 2000:
- The white population shrank by 4% in Monroe from 2000 and stood at 77% of the total population in 2015. This proportion is the same as the nation, above the state (70% white) and well below every other county in the region (all at 90% or above). Just 44% of Rochester residents were white.
- African Americans made up 16% of the population in Monroe, above the nation (13%) and below the state (18%). The proportion in Monroe was more than twice as high as any other county in the region. The African American population grew by 15% in Monroe from 2000 to 2015, slightly below the nation (19%) and well above the state (4%). Rochester’s African American population grew by 3% over that period. Rochester diverged dramatically from the county, with African Americans making up 42% of the total population.
- Monroe County also had a higher share of Hispanic residents than the surrounding counties (8%), but was below the state (19%) and nation (18%). Monroe’s Hispanic population has grown by 60% since 2000, similar to regional and national rates.
Monroe County has seen a decline in the share of households of married couples with children and an increase in singles with children and single-person households:
- In 2011-15, 17% of Monroe households were married with children, down from 22% in 2000. During the same period, households of those living alone rose by three points to 32% and singles with children rose 2 points to 12%.These changes were mostly similar in the nation, state and region.
- Monroe’s share of married with children households was smaller than the state (19%) and nation (21%), while its proportion of those living alone was higher than in the state (30%) and nation (28%).
- The City of Rochester had a much larger share of single-person households (41%) and a much smaller share of married with children households (8%) than Monroe as a whole.
Arts, Culture and Leisure
Monroe County is the center of the region's cultural scene and home to most of our area's museums, sports venues and other attractions. Visitors spent over $1 billion in 2015, an increase of 2% from 2005. Monroe’s tourism revenue accounts for 64% of the total for the region. Total tourism revenue per resident was $1,341, a decrease of 10% from its high in 2007, but above the amount for the surrounding counties as a whole ($1,209).
Spending by tourists on recreational activities was $63 per Monroe County resident in 2015, below the region ($70) and well below the state ($331).
Attendance at arts and cultural attractions in the region, most of which are in Monroe, rose by 29% from 2004 to 4.4 million total attendees in 2015. Professional sports team attendance, however, has fallen by 16% since 2000 and stood at 860,600 in 2015.
Children and Youth
Monroe County has a higher rate of children living in poverty than the nation, state, and region, driven primarily by child poverty in Rochester:
- In 2011-15, 23% of the county’s children lived in poverty, above the region (21%), state, and nation (both 22%). The child poverty rate in Rochester was a troubling 52% in 2011-15.
- The county’s poverty rate increased 7 points from 2000 to 2011-15; while a larger increase than the state and nation (2 and 5 points respectively), it was a much smaller increase than for the City of Rochester (14 points).
- Excluding the City of Rochester (i.e. the county outside of city), the child poverty rate in Monroe was just 7%, lower than the nation, region, state, and every county in the region.
Monroe had a large disparity in child poverty between races/ethnic groups:
- The child poverty rate for African Americans in Monroe was 50%, compared to 12% for white children, 14% for Asian children, and 45% for Hispanic children. Child poverty among the county’s African American children was higher than for the state and nation, while white child poverty was lower.
- The disparity between ethnic groups was smaller in Rochester, even though the rates were higher: Hispanic and African American children had a poverty rate between 55-56%, while white children had a rate of 42%.
Similar to the state and nation, Monroe County has seen an increase in the number of children living in single-parent families:
- In 2011-15, 41% of families were headed by single parents, up from 33% in 2000. The figures were dramatically higher in Rochester, where 73% of families were headed by one parent. Monroe’s rate was higher than the nation (35%), state (37%), and region as a whole (39%).
- Monroe’s increase of 8 points from 2000 was above the nation (6 points) and state (4 points) and on par with the region.
On several measures of early childhood health, the City of Rochester fared poorly compared to Monroe, the rest of the region, and the state:
- The rate of low birth-weight babies in the city was 11%, greater than in the region, state (both at 7.8%), and nation (8.0%). The rate in Rochester has decreased slightly from 2000, while the national, regional, and state rates have slightly risen.
- The 2014 infant mortality rate in Rochester (6.8 per 1,000 live births) has fallen consistently and dramatically from 14.9 in 2006 and from 11.1 in 2013. Although it is still higher than the region (5.0) and state (4.6), the disparity continues to decrease.
- After an increase of over 14 points since 2000, there was a smaller discrepancy between the rate of mothers receiving early prenatal care in Rochester (71%) compared to the region (79%) and the state (75%). The overall rate in Monroe was 80%.
Monroe consistently had the lowest rate of indicated cases of child abuse and neglect in the region. Indicated cases are those reported and investigated where credible evidence of abuse or neglect is found:
- In 2015, there were 12 cases of abuse and/or neglect per 1,000 children, below the state (14) and region (16).
- Monroe’s rate has fallen by 8% from 2000, in contrast to increases of 3% at the state level and 11% for the region.
The rate of foster care admissions is low and falling:
- In 2015, there were 2.0 foster care admissions per 1,000 children in Monroe, below the nation (5.6), state (2.1), and region (2.2).
- The rate has fallen by almost 50% from 2000, a greater decrease than for the region and state.
The teen pregnancy rate has sharply declined in Monroe and Rochester, but a large discrepancy between the two remains:
- In 2014, 2.7% of all females ages 15-19 in Monroe became pregnant, lower than for the state (3.3%) but higher than the region (2.5%). In Rochester, the rate was 6.3%.
- The rates for Rochester and Monroe have been falling in step with the state and region, with 2014 rates about half the level of 2000 in Monroe County.
Voter registration in Monroe exceeds state rates:
- In 2015, 78% of the eligible population were registered to vote, on par with the region and above the state (75%).
- The voter registration was slightly higher for the 2008 and 2012 elections, but has fallen 2 points since 2000.
Voter participation in Monroe, like the region, outperforms the state:
- In the 2014 midterm elections, 35% of eligible voters in Monroe voted, same as the region and 10 points above the state turnout.
- During the 2012 presidential election, Monroe’s turnout rate of 57% was slightly above the region (55%) and the nation (54%) and well above the state (46%).
Monroe County’s level of registered borrowers was the second highest in the region following Genesee:
- In 2015, 70% of residents of Monroe’s county library system were registered borrowers, above the state (57%) and region (64%), and every county in the region except Genesee.
- While library visits in Monroe County increased only 3% since 2000, the City of Rochester had the highest rate of visits at 8.1 visits per resident.
Monroe County had the second highest level of charitable giving in the region, with the average donor contributing $3,569 in 2013. However, this was well below the average giving for the state ($5,516) and nation ($4,999). Monroe’s rate has fallen by 3% since 2002, below the 9% increase for the state and 11% increase for the nation.
Donations to two of the largest regional charities have diverged between 2000 and 2015. The United Way’s contributions have fallen by 33% from 2000 to 2015 compared to a 94% increase experienced by the Rochester Area Community Foundation due to a large donation.
Monroe’s unemployment rate has remained lower than the state and nation throughout the recession until 2015:
- Unemployment grew from 4.4% in 2007 to 8.0% in 2010. Since 2010, the rate has dropped to 5.2% -- almost 3 points lower than at its peak but 1.6 points above the rate in 2000.
- Rochester, whose rate has consistently been above that of Monroe, peaked at 10.8% in both 2010 and 2012 and now stands at 7.1% - higher than the nation, state, region, and every county in the region. The gap between Rochester’s rate and Monroe’s rate was at its lowest in 2000 (1 point higher in Rochester), and has since grown to a difference of 2 points in 2015.
Monroe County is the anchor of the regional economy, supplying 68% of the region's jobs in 2015. Overall, Monroe lost none of its jobs since 2000, although the number of jobs has risen by 4% from a low in 2010. Monroe’s steadiness from 2000 is in contrast to an increase of 15% for the nation,16% for the state, and 8% for the region over that period.
Reflecting the steady shrinkage of manufacturing in the region and the state, the largest sectors in Monroe County in 2015 were Health Care and Social Assistance; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; and Professional and Business Services; each making up about 15% of the county’s jobs.
Monroe’s economic performance (measured by total jobs) has lagged behind the state and nation in most sectors:
- Monroe’s Education sector increased by 48% from 2001 to 2015, similar to the state and regional increases and below the national increase.
- Similar to the state and nation, Monroe has seen a dramatic decline in its Manufacturing sector, losing 46% of jobs from 2001 to 2015. The decrease was more than for the state (down 33%) and nation (down 23%) over that period.
- Monroe has also seen a larger contraction in the Information sector (35%) than the state (12%) and nation (17%).
As the second highest in the region, Monroe’s average salary had a slight increase compared to the increases of the nation, state, and region:
- Monroe County's average salary, at $49,200 in 2015, was the second highest in the region behind Ontario, but lower than the state ($67,500) and nation ($52,900).
- Since 2000, the average salary in Monroe (adjusted for inflation) has increased by 1%, counter to the increases in the surrounding counties (17%), state and nation (both 9%).
- Salaries fell in several sectors, including Leisure and Hospitality, Manufacturing, and Natural Resources and Mining, but they were up substantially in Government; Financial Activities; and Health Care and Social Assistance.
Monroe County students perform near state levels on state tests, however, a persistent and extreme disparity exists between the county and the Rochester City School District, its largest district. Most of the other districts in Monroe perform at or above state averages, while Rochester is consistently ranked among the bottom 10 performing districts in the state.
- For example, 8% of RCSD students passed the 3rd grade English test in 2016, compared to 42% statewide and 37% for Monroe. The discrepancy was even higher for 4th grade math – Rochester at 11%, versus 45% for the state and 44% for Monroe.
- Performance was even lower for 8th grade exams – in English, just 6% of Rochester students passed, compared to 41% statewide and 37% in Monroe, while for 8th grade math, 1% of Rochester students passed, compared to 24% statewide and 15% for Monroe and the region.
- The same discrepancy was present for performance on high school Regents – 37% passed Common Core Algebra 1 and 57% passed English in Rochester, versus 71% and 84% passing in math and English respectively in Monroe.
In 2016, 83% of students across Monroe graduated on time, 2 points higher than in 2008. The rate was above the state (81%) and about even with the region (84%). In contrast, just 53% of Rochester students graduated on time; while up from 48% in 2014, the rate is 1 point lower than in 2008.
Monroe County consistently has the highest levels in the region of educational attainment among adults. In 2011-15, 65% of county residents 25 and older had attended at least some college, 6 points above the state and national figures. There was also a higher concentration of adults with a bachelor’s or higher - 36% - in Monroe than in the state (34%), nation (30%), and region (31%). Only 10% of Monroe residents lacked a high school diploma or equivalent, a lower proportion than statewide or nationwide.
Spending per student by school districts in Monroe has increased 41% since 2000, a smaller increase than for the state (48%) and the region (45%). In 2015, Monroe school districts spent $20,700 per student, below the state rate of $22,600 and on par with the region. Spending in the Rochester district was $21,800 per student in 2015, an increase of 35% since 2000.
Median household income has fallen faster than the nation, state, and region:
- In Monroe, median income fell by 18% from 2000 to 2011-15, a larger drop than for the region (15%), state (4%), and nation (10%).
- In 2011-15, median income was $52,600, slightly above the region ($52,300) but below the state ($59,300) and nation ($53,900). Monroe’s median income was above most other counties in the region (except Ontario and Wyoming). Rochester’s median income was much lower, at $31,000 in 2011-15.
- There was a vast discrepancy in Monroe between median income for white residents ($59,100) versus African American ($27,000) and Hispanic ($29,300) residents. While median income was lower for each ethnicity in Rochester, the discrepancy was less ($38,800 for whites versus $23,200 for African Americans and $22,600 for Hispanics).
Monroe’s poverty rate was on par with the nation at 15% in 2011-15.
- Monroe’s rate rose by 4 points from 2000, a greater increase than the state (1 point) and nation (3 points) and on par with the region.
- Rochester had both a much higher poverty rate in 2011-15 (33%) and a sharper increase since 2000 (8 points).
A larger portion of Monroe residents received temporary assistance than other counties:
- In 2015, 4.1% of Monroe residents received temporary assistance, well above the state (2.9%) and region (3.1%). The rate has decreased 0.2 points since 2001.
The rate of people receiving emergency food rose at a slower rate than the region:
- In 2015, there were 6.2 emergency meals served per resident: lower than the state (7.1), region (7.0), and every county in the region besides Livingston.
- The rate rose by 83% from 2000, a smaller increase than the region (126%) but larger than the state (-3%).
Monroe County had a smaller proportion of people without health insurance than the nation and state:
- In 2014, 7% of Monroe residents lacked health insurance, compared to 8% for surrounding counties, 7% for the region as a whole, 10% for the state, and 14% for the nation.
- Like the nation and region as a whole, Monroe’s rate has decreased from 2008.
In 2014, there were 42 doctors per 10,000 residents in Monroe, a rate above the state and almost three times the rate for the surrounding counties.
Monroe has a large and growing percent of the population enrolled in Medicaid:
- In 2014, 19% of Monroe residents were enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care, slightly above the region but below the state.
- The rate was up one point from 2014 to 2015, matching the rise in the region and state.
Monroe saw a decline (15%) in its overall mortality rate from 2000 to 2014, and much larger reductions in mortality from certain diseases:
- In 2014, the mortality rate was 674 per 100,000 residents, higher than the state (618) but below the rate for the surrounding counties (702).
- From 2000 to 2014, there were even greater declines in mortality from heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and stroke.
Monroe’s rate of chlamydia infections was the highest in the region and considerably above the state, while the rate of gonorrhea infections and people living with HIV were both several times higher than for surrounding counties. The rate of chlamydia infections more than doubled from 2001 to 2014, while the rate of gonorrhea infections fell by 25%. The rate of people living with AIDS has risen steadily and is 36% above the rate in 2002.
Median home values in Monroe have remained basically flat since 2000:
- In 2011-15, the median home value in Monroe was $138,600, higher than the region ($128,700) but below the state ($283,400) and nation ($178,600).
- The median home value (inflation-adjusted) rose by 2.5% from 2000 to 2011-15, in contrast to a 2.2% decline in the region, and larger increases in the state and nation (39% and 16% respectively).
- The median home value in Rochester was just $76,200 in 2011-15, an 11% decline from 2000.
In 2011-15, median rent in Monroe was $826, lower than the state ($1,132) and nation ($928), but the highest in the region. Rent fell slightly (5.1%) in Monroe from 2000 to 2011-15, in contrast to increases in the state and nation (18% and 8.4% respectively).
Homes are relatively affordable in Monroe compared to the state and nation:
- In 2011-15, the ratio of median home value to median income - a measure of housing affordability - was 1.9 in Monroe, on par with the region and well below the state (3.5) and nation (2.6). A ratio less than 2 or 3 is considered affordable.
- Monroe’s ratio rose by 21% from 2000 to 2006-10 and has held steady since. This is in contrast to extreme increases for the state and nation from 2000 to 2006-10, followed by moderate declines from 2006-10 to 2011-15.
Housing has become less affordable for renters:
- In 2011-15, Monroe renters spent 36% of their income on rent, on par with the state but more than the nation (33%). The rate increased similarly from 2000 to 2011-15 for the state, region and nation. Rent is considered affordable if it is less than 30% of income.
- In Rochester, 43% of income went to rent in 2011-15, up 8 points from 2000; while median rent was lower in Rochester than Monroe, median income was much lower, therefore rent was relatively less affordable in Rochester.
- Rent was considerably more affordable for white and Asian renters in Monroe than for Hispanic and African American renters.
In Monroe, the homeownership rate was higher than the state and equal to the nation, but much lower than for surrounding counties (driven by a very low rate in Rochester):
- In 2011-15, 64% of occupied housing units in Monroe were owner-occupied, compared to 54% statewide. The rate in Monroe remained relatively unchanged from 2000.
- In Rochester, the rate was just 37%, a decline from 40% in 2000.
Overall, crime has fallen in Monroe, but remains higher than most counties, driven primarily by extremely high crime rates in the City of Rochester:
- In 2015, there were 274 serious crimes per 10,000 residents in Monroe, slightly below the nation but above the state (196) and region as a whole (231). In Rochester, the rate was 482. Serious crime rates fell by about a third for the city, state, nation, and Monroe from 2000 to 2015.
- Similarly, the rate of property crimes in Monroe in 2015 (240 per 10,000) was slightly below the nation and above the state and region, while Rochester’s rate (394 per 10,000) was much higher. Property crime fell by more than a third for the state and region while the rate declined by over 40% in both Monroe and Rochester.
- In contrast to other types of crime, violent crime rates have increased in Rochester and Monroe while decreasing statewide and nationally. In 2015, there were 34 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in Monroe, below the state and nation (37 and 38, respectively). Rochester’s rate of 88 was more than twice as high as the nation, state, region, and every regional county, and rose by 18% from 2000 to 2015.
Despite declining over the past 6 years, the rate of domestic violence in Monroe was higher than the state and region:
- In 2015, there were 64 reported victims of domestic violence per 10,000 residents in Monroe, a higher rate than the state (43) and region (54). The rate in Rochester (116) was almost twice as high as in Monroe.
- The rate in Monroe fell by 18% from 2009 to 2015, a greater decrease than the state and region. Rochester’s rate has also fallen 24% since 2009.
Note: Data research and analysis completed by the Center for Governmental Research.