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Community Report Cards released: Genesee is a regional leader in tourism, but more kids live in poverty

By Billie Owens

Press release:

In March, ACT Rochester released its 2012 Community Report Card, which showed how well the seven-county region compares to New York State in education, health, housing and nine other areas.

Today, ACT Rochester released individual report cards for Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne and Wyoming counties. These County Report Cards indicate how each county is faring in the same 12 topic areas compared to the state and the extent of long-term progress each has made since 2000.

“We got a clear message from the more than 225 people who attended our Community Report Card event that while the regional report was eye-opening, more county-specific information was needed to drive action,” says Ann M. Johnson, ACT Rochester program director.

The County Report Cards aggregate data from more than 100 community indicators at <> and use symbols, colors and arrows to provide a quick, at-a-glance overview of the well-being of each of our seven counties. This data cover the topics of Arts, Culture and Leisure, Children and Youth, Community Engagement, Economy, Education, Environment, Financial Self-Sufficiency, Health, Housing, Public Safety, Technology, and Transportation.

Genesee County has relatively low crime, affordable housing and it is a regional leader in tourism. Young people are doing well on several measures: pre-kindergarten participation has increased, graduation rates are high, cases of Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS) are down, and high proportions of youth report healthy community involvement. However, areas of potential concern include increases in children living in poverty, car crashes involving alcohol and people seeking substance abuse treatment.

Some specific examples include:

•       Tourism spending in all counties in the region fell since 2005, but Genesee's rate ($1,570 per resident) remained the second highest, with only Ontario County attracting more tourism dollars per capita ($1,670). Genesee also had the highest recreation spending per resident in the region, at $182 in 2010.

•       Genesee County's average salary, adjusted for inflation, has been rising since 2004. In 2010, the average salary of $33,820 represented an increase of 7 percent since 2000. This growth was similar to the state’s growth, and well above the regional growth rate of 1 percent.

•       Although poverty rates increased across the region, Genesee County experienced the greatest increase of all the counties, rising from 8 percent to 14 percent. The national and state rate is 14 percent.

Overall, all seven counties are performing better than New York State in Education and Housing, with six performing better in Children and Youth, Economy, and Financial Self-Sufficiency. In Community Engagement all counties except Monroe lag New York State.

When reviewing long-term trending, most of the counties are either making improvements (more than 1 percent) or results are unchanged. Only Transportation has improved by more than 1 percent (indicated by "up" arrows) in all seven counties. In the area of Education, all but Wyoming County has shown progress. Progress in the areas of Community Engagement, the Economy, and Housing is deteriorating by 1 percent or more across all seven counties.

“With these county report cards now available, we encourage neighbors and community leaders to locally and regionally work closely together to change what is not working and build on what is,” says Tom Argust, chair of ACT Rochester’s Advisory Committee.

ACT Rochester is a joint project of Rochester Area Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Rochester. Data for these Report Cards and all data on is compiled and updated by the Center for Governmental Research.

To find the the Genesee County Report Card and County Profile, visit <>, click on the "Our Community" tab at the top and then select Genesee County.

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