By now it's common knowledge that Hudson's population decreased by 10.8 percent in the past decade. Some people—perhaps some of the same people who thought building the country's largest cement plant in Greenport would bring back the good old days of the 1950s—think this population decline is a death knell for Hudson. Fourth Ward Supervisor William Hughes promises that he, Mayor Scalera, and Common Council President Don Moore "are reviewing the 2010 census information to determine what the next move for Hudson should be."
Sam Pratt takes a more balanced view, warning that the knee-jerk reaction that population loss is bad doesn't take into account other factors that contribute to the economic health and well-being of a community: "Say a town's population goes down while its residents' average income or local sales tax revenues go up—isn't that an improvement overall?"
A microcosmic example of population loss in Hudson occurred just down the street. A row of three houses began the decade divided up into apartments—three apartments in one building, two each in the other two houses. In 2000, more than 20 people lived in those houses, and one of the houses was known to the Hudson Police Department as a "notorious crack house." In 2010, only 6 people lived there--a population loss of 70 percent—but the houses had been impressively restored, they were owner occupied, and their assessments—and consequently their contribution to the City's coffers in property tax—had trebled.
Yesterday, Sam Pratt published the population changes for municipalities in Berkshire and Ulster counties. Berkshire County, generally perceived as being more prosperous than Columbia County, had an overall population loss of 2.8 percent. Most interesting to me is that Stockbridge, home of Norman Rockwell and the Red Lion Inn, had a population loss of 14.5 percent.
One wonders if the civic leaders of Stockbridge are reviewing the 2010 census information to determine what their next move should be.