Ithaca, NY
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Living in Ithaca


Ithaca is a medium-sized city located in the state of New York. With a population of 30,788 people and 16 constituent neighborhoods, Ithaca is the 42nd largest community in New York. Ithaca has a large stock of pre-World War II architecture, making it one of the older and more historic cities in the country.

Housing costs in Ithaca are among some of the highest in the nation, although real estate prices here don't compare to real estate prices in the most expensive communities in New York.

Ithaca is a decidedly white-collar city, with fully 92.29% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, Ithaca is a city of professionals, service providers, and sales and office workers. There are especially a lot of people living in Ithaca who work in teaching (22.87%), food service (9.31%), and office and administrative support (8.99%).

And if you like science, one thing you'll find is that Ithaca has lots of scientists living in town - whether they be life scientists, physical scientists (like astronomers), or social scientists (like geographers!). So, if you're scientific-minded, you might like it here too.

Also of interest is that Ithaca has more people living here who work in computers and math than 95% of the places in the US.

Of important note, Ithaca is also a city of artists. Ithaca has more artists, designers and people working in media than 90% of the communities in America. This concentration of artists helps shape Ithaca’s character.

One interesting thing about the economy is that relatively large numbers of people worked from their home: 7.26% of the workforce. While this number may seem small overall, as a fraction of the total workforce this is high compared to the rest of the county. These workers are often telecommuters who work in knowledge-based, white-collar professions. For example, Silicon Valley has large numbers of people who telecommute. Other at-home workers may be self-employed people who operate small businesses out of their homes.

Ithaca is also a major college town with a large number of people who are 18 years or older and attending college. As is often the case in college towns, the many students that live in Ithaca have a strong influence on the local culture and entertainment scene, which may seem dormant by comparison in the summer months when much of the student population is away. In the fall, the return of students has a reinvigorating effect on the community. Because colleges are lasting institutions, they have a stabilizing effect on the economy by providing direct local benefits such as jobs for faculty and staff and spending by students. Ithaca’s economy is one such example of this.

Residents of the city have the good fortune of having one of the shortest daily commutes compared to the rest of the country. On average, they spend only 16.99 minutes getting to work every day.

Many people in Ithaca take advantage of public transportation to get around. In fact, for the size of the city, the number of people who use the bus to commute to work is quite high. This helps to fill a need among Ithaca citizens for affordable transportation.

Do you have a 4-year college degree or graduate degree? If so, you may feel right at home in Ithaca. 64.26% of adults here have a 4-year degree or graduate degree, whereas the national average for all cities and towns is just 21.84%.

The per capita income in Ithaca in 2010 was $16,718, which is low income relative to New York and the nation. This equates to an annual income of $66,872 for a family of four. However, Ithaca contains both very wealthy and poor people as well. Ithaca also has one of the higher rates of people living in poverty in the nation, with 45.51% of its population below the federal poverty line.

Ithaca is a very ethnically-diverse city. The people who call Ithaca home describe themselves as belonging to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of Ithaca residents report their race to be White, followed by Asian. Important ancestries of people in Ithaca include German, Italian, English, and Polish.

Ithaca also has a high percentage of its population that was born in another country: 17.63%.

The most common language spoken in Ithaca is English. Other important languages spoken here include Chinese and Spanish.