Elmira, New York
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-3.6% since 2010
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Elmira is a quiet, nondescript town in the hills of southwestern New York with a fairly diverse economic base. The biggest industrial landmark is the Corning Glass Works 14 miles west in Corning, which benefited from the 1990’s fiber optic boom, fell on hard times, then picked up again with the growing flat panel display business. Such cycles, though not as sharp, have hurt other area businesses, and employment and income levels have had their bumps.
For better or for worse, the area has two correctional facilities and a psychiatric facility; at least these provide employment. There isn’t much to do and the area is somewhat geographically isolated from other cities, but the popular Finger Lakes region and well-known Watkins Glen International Speedway are nearby. The Cost of living Index is one of the lowest in the state and extremely low for the region. Although the location is far enough south to escape the worst lake effects in winter, that season is still harsh.
The city sits in a creek valley surrounded by hills with hardwood forests. The climate is continental with some lake effect that moderates temperatures and produces clouds and precipitation year-round. Summer temperatures are pleasant with only a few days above 90 degrees, but humidity is high and the valleys trap both warm and cold air. Winters are cold and variable with periods of clouds, rain, snow squalls, and heavier snows. While wind and snowfall are slightly less than areas near the Great Lakes, below-zero temperatures are common. First freeze is October 1, last is early May.
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