The ability to take care of oneself and one’s family is critical to a personal and collective sense of well-being. In this section, we review measures of income, poverty and participation in various public and private support programs. In all cases, comparisons to the state reflect the state excluding New York City.
In summary, Cayuga and Seneca counties have:
- Median household incomes below state and national levels, and down since 2000 on an inflation-adjusted basis
- Poverty rates close to state and national rates, with Seneca higher than Cayuga
- Lower participation in public welfare programs compared to the state, both for adults and children
- Rising use of food stamps, above the state level in Cayuga but below in Seneca
- Medicaid participation at the highest levels in the past decade, but rates about the same as the state
- Percentage of students eligible for free or reduced price school lunches and emergency meals served per resident above state levels
- Rising rates for subsidized child care in Cayuga, but continuing low levels in Seneca
Median household incomes in 2006-10 were about $48,400 in Cayuga and $46,700 in Seneca, less than the $64,300 in the state and $52,000 in the nation. Since 2000, inflation-adjusted incomes have declined 1% in Cayuga and 4% in Seneca, compared to declines of 3% in the state and 6% in the nation.
In 2006-10, 12% of Cayuga residents were poor, as were 14% of Seneca residents, compared to a state rate of 11% and national rate of 14%. Since 2000, the rate increased 1 point in Cayuga and 3 points in Seneca.
In 2010, 13 Cayuga residents of every 1,000 received help from the state welfare program, Temporary Assistance, as did 7 of every 1,000 Seneca residents – below the state rate of 18. Since 2001, both Cayuga and Seneca’s average rates (12 and 8, respectively) have been below the state average of 17.
Similarly, the 2010 rate of children receiving Temporary Assistance was 35 per 1,000 in Cayuga and 18 in Seneca, below the state rate of 45. Rates in Cayuga were up 16% in 2010 compared to 2001, while rates in Seneca decreased 28%.
In 2010, for every 1,000 residents, there were 120 in Cayuga and 79 in Seneca receiving food stamps each month, compared to 98 in the state. In both counties and the state, rates have risen sharply since the national recession began in 2008. Food stamp use increased each year during the past decade in Cayuga, resulting in an overall increase of 147% from 2000 to 2010. During that time, food stamp use fluctuated in Seneca but rose 84%.
In 2010, 18% of Cayuga residents and 15% of Seneca residents were enrolled in Medicaid, similar to the state rate of 15%. Rates in both counties are now at their highest levels in the past decade, with the counties up significantly since 2000, when both had a rate of 9%.
The percentage of students eligible for free or reduced price school lunches was 35% in Cayuga and 40% in Seneca in 2010. Both counties were above the state rate of 33%.
In 2009, 14 emergency meals per resident were served in Cayuga and 15 in Seneca, far higher than the state rate of 5. Both counties are at their highest levels since 2000.
In 2010, 3.6% of children in Cayuga and 1.1% of children in Seneca participated in subsidized child care, compared to 2.9% of children in the state. The rate in Cayuga has risen slowly each year since 2005, while rates in Seneca fluctuated but remained low during the same period.
In 2010, there were 25 SSI recipients per 1,000 residents in Cayuga and 22 in Seneca, close to the state rate of 23.. Compared to 2000, rates increased 8% in Cayuga, similar to the national increase but below the state increase of 13%. The rate increased just 1% in Seneca.