Statistics don't lie. And there's some good news WITHIN the bad news about Upstate New York communities. Mohawk Valley neighborhoods came out better on the whole than other Upstate New York spots in the category of Most Distressed Places.

Some might consider it a backhanded compliment, but for an area like Utica-Rome that's been downcast and disrespected for so long, maybe it's a silver lining.

A Washington, D.C.-based outfit known as the Economic Innovation Group has developed what it calls a Distressed Communities Index. It's just one of the tools it deploys to help inform and aid entrepreneurs and investors, with the ultimate goal of boosting the health of the U.S. economy.

The index measures hundreds of zip codes in multiple areas of performance--poverty rate, home vacancies, unemployment, etc.--and then combines the factors to determine the overall "distress" rank of those communities.

According to an article in, eight of the top 10 most distressed Upstate New York communities are in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.

The lone distressed zip code in Oneida County was 13501 (East Utica), which graded out at #23 in Upstate New York. Not great, but better than it's been.

So, for now, "We're #23" can serve as a rallying cry for Oneida County.


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