Rockland County, New York

Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 11:15 AM

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Your Anecdotal Census: A People's History of the New York City Area 2000-2010

Tell us about change that matters in your community. Here are some possible questions to answer. Add your story to the comments below!

How is your community different today than it was 10 years ago?

Who's moving in and who's moving out? 

How has the housing boom/housing bust changed your community?

How have the politics of your community changed? If power has shifted in your community, how and why?

How has 9/11 changed your community? 

Do you have a story about change in your own life over the last decade that you think represents a larger trend?

What's an untold story of change in your community that needs to be told? 

By The Numbers:

What story do you think this data tells? Do you think the data reflects what's really going on in your community?

Rockland County, NY1980199020002008/2009
Total Population 259,530 265,475 286,761 300,173
Median Household Income (2008 adjusted dollars) $76,200 $91,600 $87,800 $84,076
% Foreign Born 11.3% 14.6% 19.1% 20.6%
% Under 18 Years Old 31% 26% 28% 26.6%

Explore the Maps:

Rockland County, NY - Median Household Income (2007) - Go to the Interactive Maps at Social Explorer

More Resources:

US Census Bureau QuickFacts

Social Explorer

More in:

Comments [23]

Carney from Rockland

I grew up in Rockland in the early 80s- 90s.
I tend to disagree with the general sentiment voiced in this forum and take the opposing view- I didn't care for the area back then but believe the county has grown into it's skin quite well, has become a good place to now live in and is moving forward in the right direction. I think now more than ever before there is a balanced blend of various housing options to choose from- condos, TH, & SFRs of various styles, age, square feet & lot sizes. There is also still so much nature & parklands that surround the daily living environment.

Sep. 08 2010 09:52 PM
Chris from Pearl River

I grew up in West Nyack & my husband grew up in Spring Valley. The two of us, although living in the same county, are inevitably from two VERY different sides of the planet. In the 22 years I have lived here I can honestly say this is a beautiful county & I would'nt choose anywhere else in the world to have grown up. Sadly, my husband & I cannot afford to raise a family here. Taxes & prices for houses are ridiculously high. Job availability is slim to none. The transportation system is almost non-existant. Both Spring Valley & many parts of Ramapo have been over-run by crime & over-population. Acres of woods have been destroyed because of this. Our good old boys (local government) really need to make some serious changes if Rockland is to stay the safe & wonderful place I grew up in.

Jul. 26 2010 01:30 PM
Ellen from Pearl River

Pearl River is still overwhelming white and in particular Irish -- many of the residents are Irish born.

I think 9/11 changed Rockland by making people pull together more and perhaps become more insular. For sucy a small area of the New York metropolitan area, Rockland, in particular Orangetown, was affected greatly. We lost residents, but because of the large number of police officers and fire fighters living in our community, we have been touched by 9/11 in a palpable way.

Jul. 22 2010 11:47 AM
Ari from Monsey

A lot of Jews moved into the County, Jews from all walks of life. In the last two years some tensions have arisen as a result of people not understanding each other’s needs. Hopefully, this is just a transactions period and we will once again be able to live side by side in harmony.

Jul. 22 2010 10:22 AM
Sandra from formerly Chestnut Ridge

It is important to note that many of these changes mentioned on this website are within the boudaries of the East Ramapo Central School District (of which I am a product). While some racial, religious and economic diversity are beginning to take place in other areas of the county, there is no change as severe as that in East Ramapo. While many point to the Orthodox Jewish community as the group to blame for a disintigrating school district (as they have taken over the school board) we must also ask the state why the districts boundaries conveniently lie around ethnic communities (there are individuals who actually should be placed in other schools but because of their race are included into the melting pot of East Ramapo).

I am proud to have graduated from Spring Valley High School. What we lacked for in resources we made up for in diversity. I learned more outside the classroom than in and I am happy for my experience. However, more money is needy for this school district that is forced to make drastic cuts to classroom teaching and extracurricular activities. Low-income school districts are being shafted by the state and federal government who corrall ethnically and economically disadvantaged groups into one district whose needs they continue to ignore.

Jul. 22 2010 10:13 AM
mike from ramapo from Ramapo

the dynamic which is driving over-development in Ramapo is as follows:

- the Ultra religious community has a very high population growth which requires high-density housing and fuels potent political clout at the ballot box. This enables that particular religious group to secure high-density zoning changes/exceptions for whichever locale suits their needs.

Jul. 22 2010 09:53 AM
Andy Sahn from Pomona

I, as I have noticed many others have, grew up in New City and moved away with no intention to return to this county which was being overrun by development and corruption in Ramapo. At the end of the last year I came back for a visit with my family and got to see the bright side of the "New Rockland". With the help of a few hard working individuals, farms and the better use of open space is making a comeback here in the county. This could lead to more positive comments for the next episode, ten years from now...

Jul. 22 2010 06:39 AM
Anne from Stony Point

Part of the draw of Rockland was that wonderful, small town feel. Upcounty, this was definitely more pronounced than down county. The trade off, is that we don't even have a supermarket without driving down to Haverstraw (for some of us, over 10 miles with no bus system). Talk about food 'in-security".

The local politics were always run like a feifdom, for the benefit of a few entrenched families. It was commonly joked that Stony Point had no crime because the thugs WERE the police. Sadly, this wasn't too far from the truth. There is positive change on the horizon, though. New blood, long overdue, has begun to infuse a new set of priorities on the old guard, and it is very welcome.

I too, must note that the biggest impact I have seen on the character of Rockland changing, is this new wonderful community awareness about the importance of and desire for fresh, local food. I'm amazed how enthusiastically this community has opened up it's arms to the Rockland Farm Alliance and spoken with a really loud collective voice, asking for change for all of us. As a member of the Farm Alliance, I admit there were many times over the last few years when I thought it would never happen, but wow...we finally got land and are going to build a community farm! It's GREAT to be wrong!

Jul. 22 2010 06:29 AM
Peter Forbes from Wesley Hills, Rockland County

Over the past 10 years Rockland has experienced a rapid increase in building and land development that drastically changed the look and feel of the county. Though smaller, the county remained rural much longer than Westchester County. It just shows how quickly the old Rockland- farms, fields, woods, modest homes, and historic areas—has nearly become extinct in this last decade.

There are still families whose ancestors go back to Dutch and early English and Ramapo mountain people but there’s a fast growing population of new Rocklanders.

You often heard the phrase “the city people are moving up”. A combination of Whites, Hispanics, Hasidic Jews, Asians have been moving in. Some of the older Rocklanders say they are moving because it’s become decharmed, getting torn up, developed, and crowded.

Unfortunately, Rockland’s housing situation is very contentious and a poster child for the national crisis: development was allowed to run virtually free with unchecked variances, municipal planning guidelines were overruled- especially in Ramapo, loans were handed out like candy, now we have closed malls, tracks of dense housing that shouldn’t have been built, and many foreclosed homes. There certainly was a flight of New Yorkers following 911, which benefited from and contributed to rapider development.

Rockland once had a small community feel but it turned “commuter”—the anonymous family suburb syndrome. But surprisingly, within the last 5 years a community of people are coming out of their private homes to support the idea that it’s very important to save what little remains of rural Rockland, not just for looks but for the idea that we have to hold onto open space and grow local food grown here again (why would we destroy the local food shed completely?) Within these past few years, there are actually a few more organic farms and farm markets in Rockland. That’s what I remember growing up here and more people need to know it’s happening. I heard an environmentalist say that this was the biggest environmental story in Rockland.

Jul. 22 2010 12:02 AM
angie from rockland

The most striking change in Rockland in the past 10 years is the exponential growth of the private school community, the shameful takeover of the East Ramapo school district by residents who have no interest in quality public school education, and the overdevelopment of once open property by groups building housing without paying their share of property taxes. Sadly, all this has been accomplished with the aid of corrupt politicians, most notably in the town of Ramapo.

Jul. 21 2010 10:02 PM
Lisa from Pomona, ny

We have lived in Rockland for 7 years this August. Our little village of Pomona has had the most change that I know of with replacement of the Palisades Parkway Bridge at exit 13, new over 55 condominiums being built and the clearing of 61 acres of wooded land for a $25 million dollar, 3,500-seat minor-league baseball stadium. On a positive note, We've also seen major resurgence of community supporting local farming by boosting CSA membership at Camp Hill Farm, in Pomona, and The Rockland Farm Alliance leasing 5 acres of land in New City, NY to grow food for the community.

Jul. 21 2010 08:02 PM
Naomi Camilleri from New City

I would like to post a correction to my previous comment: John McDowell and his wife Alexandra started the first CSA in Rockland County (now in its second year), and then formed the Rockland Farm Alliance. Heshi Gorewitz is the current Executive Director of the RFA. They are all working really hard to bring sustainable community-supported agriculture to Rockland County.

Jul. 21 2010 05:47 PM
Naomi Camilleri from New City

There has been an amazing change in Rockland in the last few years: sustainable community-supported agriculture! Having been raised in Rockland in the 70s, left in '82 and returned in '97, I have also witnessed the rather sad rise of housing developments and the loss of open space and farm land that made this county so wild and beautiful. But there is now an organized, concerted effort to turn this around and to preserve some of the farmlands that once serviced Manhattan, for our local community here. John McDowell and Heshi Gorewitz have started the Rockland Farm Alliance and the first CSA in Rockland County, now in its second year. The RFA just acquired 5 acres from a former farm (thus preserving it from future development) to start another CSA to service more community members. We are bringing farms back to Rockland, and this time it is by the community and for the community.

Naomi Camilleri
Member, Board of Directors, Rockland Farm Alliance

Jul. 21 2010 04:20 PM
Kim from Yardley, PA

I grew up in Pearl River in the '70s and '80s, and moved away after college. What I notice most, when I go back now to visit my mom, is how over-crowded Rockland has become. There has been so much new construction of homes and condominiums; many appear to be simply squeezed onto any available small parcel of land, without much thought or planning.

Jul. 20 2010 11:47 PM
Jackie Renwick from Wesley Hills

I have lived in Rockland County for over 30 years, having migrated from Jamaica.. Rockland has become an over developed county with office buildings, housing, shuls and now there are plans for a ball field for an unknown minor league . School property taxes are steadly growing while schools in East Ramapo are being closed, teachers and teacher aides being laid off, kids having 2-3 lunch periods, just as many study halls as the Latina and Haitian population continues to grow. I live on a diversified street with a mixture of religions

Jul. 20 2010 02:51 PM
douglas from west nyack

i would agree with most of the above.
surely diversity has dividends BUT
the disappearance of farms, the increasing density of condominium development, a shocking lack of planning to conserve what once was open space
make this county a victim of short sighted thinking --to say the least. i moved recently to ulster county to get away from all of
the encroachment seeking a less
spoiled environment.

Jul. 20 2010 12:03 PM
Lorraine from Ramapo Township

I've only lived in Rockland County for 8 years but I've noticed some changes here during this time period.

Most notably for me is the increase in the Hasidic Jewish population in Ramapo township. While there has been a large Hasidic population here for many, many years. I would say that within the last 5 years the Hasidic population has grown even more. There are shuls that are being formed in many private family homes. Which is a change in the last 8 years. More and more you see signs in Hebrew. You see many of the grocery stores carrying more and more kosher foods.

Note I am an American Jew and do not follow the same rules as the Hasidic community.

Jul. 20 2010 11:55 AM
Katy from Haverstraw

I grew up in New City and then moved away for a few years between college and 'real life'. I have been living in Haverstraw for the past 5 years. What I've noticed most about Rockland in the last 10 years is the condominiums and townhouses springing up all over. That, and the Palisades Mall has had a really negative impact on local businesses.

Jul. 18 2010 09:47 AM
Mary Felegy from Congers

The most notable change in the past 10 years from my professional perspective is that the numbers of nuisance Canada geese has gradually but steadily declined in some areas. This is true within the Towns of Clarkstown and Haverstraw and within Rockland Lake State Park, where both population control measures (egg addlng) and canine harassment with border collies have resulted in attrition since the adoption of these methods.

Mary Felegy, President
Fair Game Goose Control, Inc.

Jul. 15 2010 03:14 PM
Andrea Egert from New City, NY

I grew up in Rockland and swore upon leaving for college in 1981 that I would never return. However, due to some unexpected forces of fate, my family and I were brought back to the county by way of the town of New City in 2004. At the time I was convinced that, due to the passage of many years, positive changes re: increased racial and cultural diversity of the general population MUST have prevailed. However, living here for the past 6 years has shown me that, in fact, while the general population is extremely diverse, segregation is largely the rule here in Rockland, and it has been established through either hi or low real estate values that are tied to the alleged "goodness" -- i.e. overall whiteness -- or "badness" -- i.e. overall browness -- of a given town's school district. The school district that serves the town that I live in was always described as "the best" by all the realtors we met with in the process of buying our current home. But it seems that overwhelming whiteness, save for the presence of a handful of Asian and Southern Asian students, is the sole criteria for that appraisal not only by realtors but, I can tell you, by the majority of the white residents themselves. Our district, Clarkstown, is sandwiched between the district for Haverstraw, which is predominantly Latino, and East Ramapo, which is predominantly African American and Haitian American. As for my own child, we have removed him from the Clarkstown school due to the poor quality of the majority of its teaching staff and its inadequate academic offerrings. I also happen to work as a reading volunteer in one of the so-called "bad" East Ramapo elementary schools, and I can also honestly say that the music program offered there is vastly superior to the embarrassment offered in the Clarkstown school.

Now, I drive 3 hours each day to take our son to a wonderfully diverse and academically excellent private school in Englewood, NJ, and I eagerly await the day that the real estate picks-up so that we can recover most of our investment on our house and move to a more enlightened community.

Jul. 15 2010 12:28 PM
Tara from NYC

I was born and raised in Rockland and the absolute biggest change I've seen has been the increase in racial diversity in many neighborhoods. I was born in 1970 and I experienced Rockland County in the 70's, 80's & 90's. Rockland was an extremely segregated County with non-white residents located in either Spring Valley or Haverstraw only. Now I see residents from all racial backgrounds in most every town in the County and I feel that this is a wonderful change and a shamefully long time in coming.

Jul. 14 2010 11:44 AM
Richard Blumenthal from Pomona, NY

We moved from NYC in 1969 and have lived in the same house since then,raising two children in the public school system and having them accepted in two very good colleges, based on their educational experience in that school system. Much has changed in my community since then. Their has been an enormous growth of Modern Orthodox Jews moving into our community. The former Grand Union supermarket, that I used to frequent is now and Orthodox supermarket, and most of the small shops in that mall cater to the Jewish Community. The school board that covers the school that my children went to has a majority of Orthodox members on it, and the public school system is populated mainly by minority children. There has been a large increase in a Haitian- American population in Spring Valley and it's environs. Oddly enough my county property taxes have gone down for the past two years, because of a lower assement on my home. I live in the Village of Pomona, where those taxes have gone up because of litigation n issues revolving around a bid my a a group who wants to build a rabbinical school and housing for pupils on land in the Village

Jul. 05 2010 08:19 AM
Mark Kalan from Valley Cottage

My property/school taxes have gone up 350% since 2000! I'm paying nearly $8000 and I've got an 800sq/ft house with a gravel driveway that is between the Palisades Mall and Tilcon gravel quarry. We suffer from noise and massive dust pollution. I blame sweetheart salary/pension deals and graft with developers! We have a police captain making over $500G/year! No reason for that!

Jun. 25 2010 10:38 AM

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