February 24, 2011

Why do all these people drive past my house?

Well, hopefully in spring it'll be to enjoy the flowers I planted last fall, if they can actually see them while driving.

New York State counts 7383 vehicles going by my house daily, and at least some of those are among the 14,000 in-commuters coming to jobs in Tompkins County every day. Those commuters are a regular part of discussions about affordable housing, property taxes, and the "10 square miles surrounded by reality" cultural differences of the area.

Cornell knows more or less where its employees live, but I hadn't realized there was more information. While I knew that there were studies about them, I hadn't found anything detailed until recently, when I finally found Cornell's 2005 study of its commuting employees (PDF).

I'm more than a little annoyed with their survey design and what feels like incomplete result reporting, but this table shows responses from 1680 people who worked at Cornell and lived outside the county. They could pick any three, without any ranking given to responses.

Reasons Used to live in Tompkins CountyNever lived in Tompkins County
Housing is less expensive. 59.0% 48.7%
Prefer the quality of life in their community. 37.4% 41.0%
Property taxes lower in their community. 37.1% 30.3%
Closer to family/friends. 25.9% 48.1%
Prefer schools in their community. 19.9% 21.9%
Spouse works outside the County. 17.1% 20.1%
Chose not to respond. 2.0% 1.9%

498 (29%) of those respondents would move into Tompkins County if it was more affordable, which doesn't seem that strong a number overall. There's also a table about where those 498 would move, given the chance, but since it combined villages, cities, and hamlets into one large possible answer, it doesn't say much useful about where they'd like to live.

It's a data point, but for now I think I'll go back to planning the garden.

Posted by simon at February 24, 2011 5:25 PM in , ,
Note on photos