New York State Facts



Published: 23 Mar 2022

Welcome to New York sign

The entirety and the rest of the New York state are overshadowed by its famous city, New York City. The New York State, however, has a fascinating history and has many current scenes that you should know about. Learn more with these 70 New York State facts.

  1. The state covers an estimated 141,300 km² of area.
  2. Water makes up an estimated 19,000 km² or 14% of the state’s area.
  3. As of 2021, an estimated 20 million people live in the state.
  4. It has an estimated population density of 159 people for every km².
  5. An estimated 44% of the state’s population lives in New York City alone, while another estimated 40% live on Long Island.
  1. Native Americans lived in what would become New York State in 10,000 BC.
  2. The Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano became the first European to arrive in the region in 1524.
  3. The Dutch became the first Europeans to officially claim the region in 1604.
  4. Native Americans later sold Manhattan Island to the Dutch in 1626.
  5. The English later gave the name New York to the colony in 1664.
  6. The American Revolution saw several battles in New York between Britain and the USA.
  7. New York State enjoyed large-scale growth in the 19th century.
  8. The boom continued in the early 20th century despite the Great Depression.
  9. The state nearly went bankrupt during the 1970s.
  10. Changing times forced New York State to diversify its economy from the late 20th century onward.
  1. The state’s Latin motto, Excelsior, means ever upward.
  2. New York State’s capital isn’t New York City, but Albany.
  3. Albany also makes up the least populated city in the entire state.
  4. New York State belongs to the USA’s Eastern Time Zone or GMT-5.
  5. At its lowest point on the Atlantic Ocean, New York State’s elevation lies at sea level.
Table of Contents

New York State has distinct geography.

Most people think that heavily-developed urban areas dominate the state’s landscape. This doesn’t come as a surprise, considering the association comes from the state’s most famous city, New York. However, outside the cities, the state has a surprisingly idyllic landscape of forests, lakes, meadows, mountains, and even rivers.

The Allegheny Plateau makes up most of the southern part of the state and rises to merge with the Southern Tier of the Catskill Mountains. The Great Appalachian Valley makes up the state’s northeast, while the Hudson Valley makes up the state’s southeast. Finally, the rest of the state stands on the Marcellus Shale, which extends west to Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The state has various water bodies and island groups in its area.

These include the Hudson River, which begins in the Adirondack Mountains and flows through the eastern part of the state to empty into the Upper New York Bay. There’s also Lakes Erie and Ontario, the Niagara River, and the Saint Lawrence River.

As for islands, Manhattan Island makes up the most important island in the state, followed soon after by Staten Island and Long Island. In fact, these three islands share four of five boroughs that together form New York City. New York State also shares the Thousand Islands Archipelago with the Canadian province of Ontario, given the archipelago’s location on the Saint Lawrence River.

Mount Marcy makes up its highest point.

Located in New York State’s Essex County, Mount Marcy rises to an estimated height of 1.63 km. This height proved a factor in its Native American names, Tewawe’éstha, or “it pierces” in Mohawk, and Tahawus, or “cloud-piercer” in Algonquin. In contrast, its English name comes from William Marcy, who served as Governor of New York State between 1833 and 1838. He gained this honor from ordering the survey of the surrounding region, with a team of climbers reaching the mountain’s summit on August 1837.

The mountain also gained a place in American history when then-Vice President Teddy Roosevelt went hunting on its slopes. In the middle of the hunt, messages arrived informing him of US President William McKinley’s assassination. This forced Roosevelt to immediately return to Washington D.C., where he found himself sworn in as the new President of the United States.

Mount Marcy in New York State
Image from Adobe Stock

New York State enjoys a mostly uniform climate.

Specifically, a humid continental climate, featuring warm summers as well as long and cold winters. In contrast, New York City makes up a small exception within the state, with a humid subtropical climate. This gives the city and its surroundings hot and humid summers as well as cold and wet winters. Scientists attribute this difference to the city’s closeness to the Atlantic Ocean, which increases the humidity in the air.

Temperatures across the state tend to average between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius in the summer, and between 15 and 25 degrees below zero Celsius in winter. On average, the state enjoys an estimated 1.5 meters of rain in a single year.

Climate change has become a major issue in the state.

Scientists have noted that New York State has seen average temperatures rise by 3 degrees over the last century. They’ve also predicted, based on current trends on global greenhouse gas emissions, that temperatures will rise by another nine degrees by 2080. They also expect that by that time, the state will have a humid subtropical climate. Rising sea levels from melting Arctic and Antarctic ice caused by global warming also prove a major concern.

Scientists predict that by 2080, sea levels in the state will rise by over a meter, with property damages in the billions of dollars. More than that, they expect that same rise in sea levels to completely submerge the Southampton Barrier Islands.

The state has a surprisingly diverse ecology.

New York State provides a home for over 20 bird and mammal species each, as well as various amphibian and reptile species. The mammals alone include bobcats, coyotes, groundhogs, moose, muskrats, raccoons, and even turkeys. Many different birds of prey also live in the state, such as bald eagles, harriers, and kestrels.

Waterfowl like mallards also live in the state, along with shorebirds like killdeers. It’s not just animals that live in the state either, but also many different kinds of plants. These include American ginseng, the common nettle, eastern poison ivy, giant hogweed, and water thyme.

It also has many different state parks.

In fact, New York State has the USA’s oldest state park, the Niagara Falls State Park, which was originally formed as the Niagara Reservation in 1885. The state also has the USA’s biggest state park, the Adirondack Park, with an area of over 24,000 km² making it as big as the state of Vermont. The park also features over 100 towns and villages in its area, home to a permanent population of an estimated 132,000 people.

This has earned it a reputation as the largest experiment in integrating human lifestyles with conservation efforts. Other parks in the state include Catskill Park and the Hither Hills State Park, the latter of which enjoys popularity among the sports fishing community.

Some of the USA’s most iconic memorials stand in the state.

The Statue of Liberty is the most iconic of them all, standing on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. Designed and built in France, the USA received the statue as a gift in 1886 to commemorate 100 years of American independence. To this day, no other monument has become so iconic not just of the USA, but also of freedom and democracy. Other monuments in the state include the General Grant National Memorial, centered around the mausoleum of US President and former Union General Ulysses Grant.

The said mausoleum not only makes up the biggest out of any belonging to deceased US Presidents but also the biggest mausoleum in all of North America. There’s also the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, which preserves the former President’s estate in the town of Hyde Park.

General Grant National Memorial
Image from Adobe Stock

Various Native American tribes lived in what would become New York State before the coming of the Europeans.

The Haudenosaunee and the Algonquians made up the dominant tribes, dividing most of the region between them. Other tribes included the Wampanoags and the Lenape, who similarly divided Long Island between them. The Mohicans also lived in the region, as well as the Iroquois, the Petun, the Susquehannocks, and the Erie.

Under the Wampanoag chief Metacomet, most of these united to try and expel the Europeans in King Philip’s War between 1675 and 1678. The Mohawk, in particular, proved especially opposed to the Europeans and even discriminated against any Native Americans who converted to Christianity. Metacomet’s death led to their defeat and their subsequent expulsion from the region.

The Native Americans fought against each other during the colonial period.

The Mohawks, in particular, fought wars of conquest against the Abenaki and the Mohicans. Similarly, the Susquehannocks conquered the Lenape in the 17th century. However, the Beaver Wars proved the bloodiest and longest war among the Native Americans, and which also involved the Europeans. The Iroquois fought against the other tribes, aiming to expel them from the region and monopolize the fur trade with the Europeans. They had the support of the Dutch, who similarly wanted to monopolize the fur trade in North America.

Other tribes enjoyed French support, but the Iroquois steadily dominated New England over the 17th century. A Dutch defeat to the British in Europe briefly weakened the Iroquois, only for the British to ally with them soon after. Eventually, the French defeat in the Seven Years War saw the end of French support for the other tribes and ensured Iroquois dominance in the region.

The Europeans began proper colonization of the region during the 16th century.

It started with the French in 1540, with French traders building an outpost on Castle Island. Ironically, they found themselves having to abandon the outpost after floods destroyed it in the following year. Although they built other outposts elsewhere, the original outpost stayed abandoned until 1614, when the Dutch rebuilt it as Fort Nassau. Fort Nassau lasted until 1623, enduring repeated floods until the Dutch abandoned it again for Fort Orange. Other outposts and settlements followed Fort Orange, such as Beverwijck, Fort Amsterdam, and Esopus.

Ironically, the Dutch originally did not come to North America to colonize the region, but to find the Northwest Passage to the Pacific. However, the lucrative North American fur trade forced the Dutch to change their position. As for the Northwest Passage, it proved impossible to pass through by ship until the 19th century and the development of early modern icebreaker technology.

The British gained control of the region in the 17th century.

It started with the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665 to 1667, with the British fighting to replace the Dutch as the leading European commercial and naval power. Ironically, Britain lost that war but proved able to keep their gains in North America at the peace table. This led them to organize the various settlements in the region into the Province of New York, marking the first use of its modern name.

Then came the Third Anglo-Dutch War of 1672 to 1674, with the French allying with the British during the war. The Dutch reconquered the Province of New York in 1673, but despite again winning the war, had to return the province to the British in the Treaty of Westminster of 1674.

The 1760s saw the beginning of agitation against British rule.

It started in New York City, with the formation of the Sons of Liberty organization in 1765. The group was formed in response to the Stamp Act, which required that all printed materials in British North America use specially-stamped paper produced in Britain. They and other opposing groups formed the Stamp Act Congress to present a united front against the Stamp Act. They succeeded, with the British Parliament repealing the unpopular law, and both the Congress and its members disbanding afterward.

However, in doing so, they set a precedent for collective action against perceived injustices from British rule. The Stamp Act Congress, in particular, would later inspire the Continental Congress which declared independence from Britain during the American Revolution.

Many important battles took place in New York State during the American Revolution.

This included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775, with the Patriots seizing the fort’s artillery before reinforcing their fellow revolutionaries in Boston. At the time, the British had surrounded the city, but the arrival of additional revolutionary forces with heavy artillery forced them to retreat. There’s also the Battle of Long Island in August 1776, with the British defeating the Americans and capturing New York City. The city then became the main British base of operations for the rest of the war.

Ironically, this also left them vulnerable to American intelligence operations, as the city’s population remained heavily anti-British and pro-independence. The loss of New York City also did not end American military activity in the region, with the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 inspiring France to openly support American independence, and even declare war on Britain.

The Iroquois Native Americans found themselves split during the war.

Most of the Iroquois in New York State supported the British, having had an alliance with the British long before the American Revolution. They also feared that the Americans would seize their lands or force them to submit in the event of a British defeat. This eventually led to the Iroquois losing most of their lands after the war, with those groups known to have fought for Britain getting expelled to Canada.

Only the fact that some Iroquois did fight alongside the revolutionary forces allowed some of them to remain in the region. These groups gained federal recognition, both of their lands and the right to self-government. This later led to a series of lawsuits in the late 20th Century, as the modern Iroquois fought for the right to buy back lands that once belonged to their people.

New York City even became the USA’s first capital after the war.

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union explicitly declared New York City as the nation’s capital in 1777. Even after the USA reorganized its government following the newly-drafted US Constitution, New York City stayed as the capital. New York State even became the 11th State to ratify the US Constitution. New York City within it also became where George Washington swore his oath as the First President of the USA.

Inauguration of George Washington
Image from The Bowery Boys

The US government also drafted the Bill of Rights in that city, and would also host the first sessions of the US Supreme Court. It wasn’t until 1790 when the government moved to Philadelphia and again to Washington D.C. in 1800 that New York City lost its status as the USA’s capital city.

Slavery had legal status in New York State until 1827.

It goes back to the earliest days of European colonization, with the Dutch bringing in African slaves as cheap labor. The practice continued and even grew under British rule, with slaves often used in rural areas. However, even in urban areas, most households tended to have at least one or two slaves. In fact, by the time of the American Revolution, New York State actually had the second-highest slave population among the Thirteen Colonies.

Thankfully, the state legislature passed a law soon after the American Revolution mandating a gradual abolition of slavery in the state. Even then, however, it would take until 1827 before the last slave in New York State gained their freedom.

Infrastructure boomed in New York State during the early 19th century.

The sheer amount of traffic between the countryside and the state’s big cities soon proved overwhelming for the local roads. This led to the construction of various canals, starting with the Erie Canal on which work began in 1817. Completed in 1825, it linked Lake Erie to the Hudson River, and from there allowed maritime access to New York City.

Other canals followed, but by the 1850s railroads grew increasingly important to link New York State with other states in New England, as well as the Midwest. The state’s ports also saw massive expansion at the time, with cotton coming in by sea from the Southern states. Finished goods then returned the same way or sent by ship to the markets of Europe.

New York State stayed loyal to the Union during the American Civil War.

The state contributed an estimated 400,000 men to the Union war effort, of which an estimated 54,000 died for the cause. Those men found themselves organized into a total of 248 infantry regiments, as well as 27 cavalry regiments, 15 artillery regiments, and eight engineering regiments. Three regiments also distinguished themselves as United States Colored Troops (USCT), the 20th, 26th, and 31st Regiments. They took their name from the fact that African-Americans made up most of their men, along with other minorities.

In addition to soldiers, New York State’s heavy industry proved critical to the Union war effort. In addition to guns and ammo, the state’s factories provided clothes, tools, even train cars and locomotives for the Union Army. The state also produced much of the food to feed the army, with New York’s farms among the most productive in the USA at the time. New York’s well-developed transport systems also allowed men and supplies to get to the frontlines quickly enough to make a difference.

State politics during the Civil War proved a complicated affair.

Ironically, the Mayor of New York City at the time, Fernando Wood, openly supported the Confederacy. He even tried to get the rest of the city government to secede not just from the Union, but the rest of New York State and join the Confederacy. The former Governor of New York, Horatio Seymour, also held a middle ground during the war. On one hand, he condemned secession and supported the war effort against the Confederacy. But on the other hand, he criticized the harsh tactics the Union Army used, such as General Sherman’s scorched earth campaign in the American South.

He also strongly criticized US President Abraham Lincoln’s decision to restrict civil liberties during the war. In contrast, Roscoe Conkling strongly supported the war effort, including the Union Army’s doctrine of total war to crush the Confederacy with overwhelming force. Even President Lincoln’s pre-war critic, William Seward, stopped his criticism during the war in the interest of unity, which the President reciprocated by making Seward the US Secretary of State.

New York State Facts, Horatio Seymour
Photo by Alvah Bradish from Wikipedia

Riots erupted in the state over conscription for the Civil War.

It began on July 11, 1863, with thousands of pro-Confederate Irish-Americans rioting against conscription in New York City. The rioters tortured and killed any African-Americans they found, with death usually in form of hanging or burning alive. They also attacked the homes of the wealthy, as well as anyone they thought supported the Union. The violence forced President Lincoln to send in federal troops to restore order in the city.

In the end, only 120 people died in the riots, but another 2,000 people suffered various injuries. The property losses amounted to an estimated $1 million, and the draft found itself suspended while the government refined its procedure further. It would take until August later that year for the draft to return to New York State.

Various Civil War memorials stand in the state today.

There’s the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Brooklyn, raised by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) after the war. A group composed completely of Union Army veterans, the GAR also raised a women’s memorial at the New York State Capitol in Albany. Other memorials include the Green-Wood Cemetery, which has the graves of hundreds of Union veterans. New York State also has the West Point Cemetery, which has the graves of various Union generals, such as George Custer and Wesley Merritt.

The state also has a memorial at Elmira, which maintained a prison camp during the Civil War. Of the Confederate prisoners kept there, an estimated 2,000 Confederates died before the war’s end. Their graves lie nearby at the Woodlawn National Cemetery.

New York State became a major destination for immigrants in the 19th century.

In fact, even before the Civil War, the state’s various ports made it a natural entry point for immigrants to the USA. At the time, the federal government made it a policy to allow state governments to decide their individual approaches to immigration. This led New York State to form a board of commissioners to regulate immigration through the state. This also led to the construction of Castle Garden on what would become Battery Park, where immigrants would wait until they finished immigration procedures.

Castle Garden stayed in use until 1890 when the federal government took control of immigration across the nation as a whole. In that time, an estimated 8 million immigrants passed through Castle Garden into the USA. Under the federal government, immigrants waited at Ellis Island instead, with an estimated 12 million immigrants passing through it until 1954. In that year, the US government stopped using the island to process immigrants, with the state government building an immigration memorial on the island afterward.

New York State enjoyed widespread political influence in the early 20th century.

By 1900, New York State was the richest and most populated state in the USA. New York City, in particular, became symbolic of American success and world leadership to the Great Depression. It also became the centerpiece of the progressive movement, especially under Republican President Teddy Roosevelt. The state as a whole became symbolic of Republican administrations’ efforts to fight business monopolies, called “trusts” at the time.

Similarly, the Democrats fought to increase public involvement in the government and to increase the power of labor unions. Ironically, New York State became infamous at this time for Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party’s headquarters in the state. Tammany Hall’s leaders strongly opposed giving women the right to vote, earning themselves a poor place in history.

The Great Depression hit the state hard.

For one thing, the Great Depression started in New York State, with the Wall Street Crash on Black Tuesday. Specifically, October 29, 1929, a day which started like any other before it, but is when the stock market had suffered 11% losses. These losses would only grow worse over the following years, as the US economy practically collapsed, dragging the rest of the world economy with it. By 1931, New York State suffered an estimated unemployment rate of 25%.

State Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt managed to halt the collapse with large-scale public works programs. These gave people jobs that allowed them to earn a living wage, while also stimulating the economy. His success in New York State allowed him to launch a successful presidential campaign in 1932. And once elected as President of the USA, Roosevelt would apply that same strategy across the USA to revive the economy.

New York State was a major player in the US war effort in WWII.

For one thing, the state had the single largest port the USA had on the Atlantic Ocean, New York City. This made both the city and the state the natural departure point for supplies and men headed to Europe. The state’s industries also made significant contributions to the war, with 11% of all the ammo the US military used coming from factories in New York State. An estimated 31,000 New Yorkers also fought and died in either Europe or the Pacific during the war. This also inspired the state government to pass a law in 1944 offering college scholarships for soldiers returning from the war.

Even before that, in 1941 the state formed the Committee on Discrimination in Employment. As implied in its name, the committee worked to address discriminatory issues in workplaces at the time. However, they didn’t have social justice in mind, as much as factories not working at their best due to not having enough people to work because their managers didn’t want to hire colored people.

The state fell into decline after the war.

The end of the war saw the armaments industry shrink, which hurt the state economy. Service industries grew to fill the gap, but this left skilled workers with experience only in industry unemployed. Industrial companies instead moved to other states, with the workers moving to follow in their wake. Ironically, even as the state population shrank, the middle class also grew, with suburbs growing with them.

New York State’s population decline finally stopped in the 1980s. By that time, both society and the economy had managed to adapt to the changing times. This, in turn, brought an end to New York State’s decades-long period of decline.

New York State gained tragic fame as a result of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists hijacked four planes flying on domestic routes in the USA. One of the planes saw the passengers fight back, and while they failed to retake the plane, they managed to force a crash instead of letting the terrorists fly the plane into the White House. One of the other three planes flew into the Pentagon, while the other two planes flew into the World Trade Center. Composed of twin skyscrapers, each building found itself hit by one plane each. Everyone inside the planes died on impact, which seriously damaged both buildings and started massive fires.

Despite hours of desperate efforts to save the buildings, the World Trade Center collapsed from the damage. An estimated 3,000 people died, while another estimated 25,000 people suffered various injuries. With Al-Qaeda publicly claiming responsibility for the attacks, the USA responded by invading Afghanistan, which served as the terrorists’ home base. This also marked the beginning of the ongoing global conflict known as the War on Terror.

world trade center memorial
Image from Adobe Stock

Hurricane Sandy later devastated the state in 2012.

The hurricane made landfall on October 29 of that year and continued to affect the state until October 30. The sheer amount of rainfall that the hurricane brought flooded subway and road tunnels across the state. For safety reasons, the state had to cut power to the hardest-hit areas, in particular, New York City and its suburbs. Together with the hurricane’s other effects, this caused the New York Stock Exchange to shut down for two days straight.

Thankfully, only 53 people died, but thousands of homes and properties were destroyed. Damages caused by the hurricane amounted to an estimated $19 billion. That, in addition to another estimated $33 billion for repairs in the aftermath.

COVID-19 hit the state hard in 2020.

The disease’s first cases developed in New York State in March of that year, and by month’s end, the state had the most cases in the entire USA. In fact, by April 2020, New York State had more cases than any country outside of the USA. This led the state government to impose a lockdown to try and control the spread of the disease. By June, dropping numbers of new cases led the state government to partially lift the lockdown.

The lockdown also caused conflict between the state government and conservative groups. In particular, the limitation of indoor religious gatherings to only 25% of maximum capacity. This led to a court hearing in July, which ruled against the state by declaring the limitation on indoor religious gatherings infringed on freedom of religion. Despite this defeat, the state’s lockdown measures meant New York State had the fewest new cases in the USA by September of 2020.

The state capital of Albany goes back to the late 17th century.

Henry Hudson of the Dutch East India Company first claimed the land the city now stands on for the Netherlands in 1609. The construction of Fort Nassau in 1614 marked the first permanent European site in what would become Albany. The Dutch also rebuilt a ruined French fort on Castle Island and renamed it Fort Orange. Both forts took their names from the Dutch Royal Family, that of the House of Orange-Nassau.

By 1652, the colonial population had grown to the point that a political reorganization had become necessary. This led to Fort Orange and the surrounding settlement becoming incorporated as the village of Beverwijk. In English, this translates to Beaver District, referencing its economic dependence on the trade of beaver fur.

The city gained its modern name in 1664.

This resulted from its conquest by the British during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. To commemorate their conquest, the British renamed the village Albany. The new name honored the Duke of Albany, who later became King James II of England and King James VI of Scotland. The Dutch retook the settlement during the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1673 and renamed it Willemstadt.

However, with the British regaining the then-Province of New York after the war, Willemstadt reverted to its English name of Albany. During this time, the settlement’s growth in size and population both proved slow, with Albany having a population of only 500 by the end of the 16th century.

It also enjoyed prominence during the Revolution and the immediate post-Revolutionary Period.

Ironically, this came from the fact that no fighting took place at or around Albany during the American Revolution. The area’s peaceful reputation and lack of battle damage caused land values to rise. This, in turn, drew in new settlers after the war’s end, leading to rapid growth in population. The injection of cash into the local economy also helped drive growth in the area.

Albany at the time also shared its status as state capital with other cities, as the state government moved back and forth. These other cities included New York City, as well as Hurley, Kingston, and Poughkeepsie. It wasn’t until 1797 that Albany permanently became New York’s state capital.

Albany later became a major transport hub in the 19th century.

It began with the establishment of a toll road, or the turnpike, in 1800, with Albany becoming the hub of the state road network by 1815. In 1807, the state also had the world’s first steamboat line, carrying passengers and cargo between Albany and New York City. The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, also passed by Albany, giving the city a link to the Great Lakes.

Railroads also fanned out to and from the city, with a total of 10 railroads completed between the 1830s and the 1850s. Between roads, canals, and railroads, Albany became a major transport hub to and from New England and the Midwest.

albany new york state
Image from Adobe Stock

The city’s fortunes fluctuated after WWII.

On one hand, the city’s economy remained stable in the 1950 and 1960s. It also managed to avoid the urban decay that set in among other European cities at the time. However, the city’s population dropped steeply in those decades, with an estimated 20% of the population moving to other places. A large-scale public works program under Governor Nelson Rockefeller helped revive the city’s fortunes with an employment surge.

Unfortunately, it also led to a series of debts that took until 2004 for the state to finish paying off. The new infrastructure also cut the city off from direct access to the Hudson River, a development seen today as counterproductive. That said, the program also saw the preservation and refurbishment of various historic sites and buildings.

Various festivals regularly take place in Albany.

The city holds a free concert series in the downtown area on Thursday every week, which is called Alive at 5. On average, these concerts draw an estimated 100,000 audience members every year. Albany also holds an annual Tulip Festival at Washington Park in honor of its Dutch heritage. The festival takes place in May, deliberately timed to coincide with the blooming of the park’s thousands of tulip flowers.

Albany also has a Pride Parade and Festival, held in June every year, to champion the LGBTQ cause. Naturally, Albany also celebrates Independence Day on July 4, with the city beating even New York City when it comes to having the largest fireworks display of a state.

New York State has a diverse population.

Whites narrowly make up the majority of the state’s population, at only 55%. Italian-Americans are the largest group among the white population at 13%. Hispanics follow in overall second place, making up an estimated 20% of the state’s population, followed by African-Americans at an estimated 15%. Puerto Ricans make up the plurality among the Hispanic population, at an estimated 6%.

Asian-Americans make up an estimated 11% of the state’s population, while other ethnicities make up an estimated 3% of the state’s population. In fact, New York State has the second-largest Asian-American population out of all US states. It also has the fourth-largest African-American population in the entire USA.

The same goes for the state’s religions.

A majority of the state’s population follow various Christian denominations, at 60%. Roman Catholics make up the plurality among the Christian population, at an estimated 31%. Protestants only make up 26% of all Christians, while Eastern Orthodox and other denominations make up the remaining 3%.

Outside of Christianity, an estimated 7% of New Yorkers follow Judaism, with the state having the largest population of Jews outside of Israel. At least 2% of the state’s population identify as Muslims, while followers of other religions cumulatively make up only 3%. However, a surprisingly large part of the state’s population identifies themselves as unaffiliated with one religion or another, at 27%.

New York State is supportive of the LGBTQ community.

With an estimated 600,000 people identifying as part of the LGBTQ community, they number an estimated 4% of the state’s population. The state has an estimated 50,000 same-sex couples. Today, same-sex marriages contribute an estimated $259 million to the state economy. These include both same-sex residents and those from other places who just came to get married in the state. New York State became the fifth state to recognize same-sex marriages in 2011.

New York City ties with Sao Paulo in Brazil for having the largest annual Pride Parade in the world. The state’s LGBTQ has also proven supportive of minority rights, as shown in 2020 when they held a parade in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

New York State Facts, 2015 New York Pride Parade
Photo by Vaughn88 from Wikipedia

The infamous Stonewall Riots of 1969 took place in New York State.

They erupted on June 28 that year and lasted until July 3, over a police raid at the Stonewall Inn. There, the police tried to arrest all homosexual customers. Instead, their condescending attitude outraged both the customers and nearby bystanders. They also molested many of the lesbians present, causing even further outrage. The police called in backup, but as more police arrived, a mob gathered outside the inn to protest their actions. When the police publicly manhandled a lesbian, the mob moved to support her, sparking the riot.

Police responded with a harsh crackdown that seemed to have succeeded at first. Instead, it only caused the mob to steadily grow larger and more hostile. In the end, the riots ended not thanks to the police, but the mob simply running out of steam and dispersing on its own. Historians today consider the Stonewall Riots as when the modern LGBTQ movement began to actively push for their community’s interests.

Wall Street makes up the most iconic aspect of the state economy.

Investment banking alone accounts for an estimated $40 billion of Wall Street’s earnings. On average, bankers at Wall Street can earn up to an estimated $300,000 per year. Tax-wise, 19% of the state government’s revenue comes from Wall Street alone. All these have made New York City the world’s largest public equity and debt capital markets.

Other major financial services that Wall Street takes the lead in include hedge funds, private equity, as well as mergers and acquisitions. It made both the city and its state the center of the American banking industry.

The state also has what it calls Silicon Alley and Tech Valley.

Silicon Alley isn’t actually a place, as much as it refers to the large number of hi-tech entrepreneurs which operate in the state. These include biotechnology, digital media, game designers, software development, and other IT ventures. New York City, in particular, proves especially welcoming for the sector, thanks to its location at the North American terminus of many trans-Atlantic fiber-optic cables.

In contrast, Tech Valley exists, specifically the Hudson Valley, as well as the neighboring Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties. The nickname comes from the many hi-tech developers operating in various fields there. These include digital electronics, nanotechnology, and even microchip production.

New York State has a solid media industry.

In fact, the state makes up North America’s largest media market, while New York City similarly has the long-standing reputation of the world’s media capital. Media giants based in the state or the city include CNN, the Fox Corporation, the Hearst Corporation, NBCUniversal, the New York Times, Thomson Reuters, and many others. Over 200 newspapers and 350 magazine publishers operate in New York State.

Some of the world’s top advertising companies like the Omnicom Group and Deloitte General also base themselves on New York State. There are also the top three recording companies in the world, Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group. Other major media companies based in New York include BuzzFeed, VICE Media, and Yahoo.

The same goes for its tourist industry.

In fact, the state even has an organized advertisement campaign to draw tourists to New York State. This makes up the origin of the ad slogan “I Love New York”, which refers to both the state and city of the same name. Today, an estimated 63 million tourists come to New York in a single year, earning the state an average of $44 billion.

Popular places to visit include the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, as well as the One World Trade Center, and the neighboring September 11 Memorial. Broadway also makes for a popular tourist destination, making an estimated $1 billion per year from ticket sales alone. Sports events at Madison Square Gardens also draw many visitors to New York.

Export and import make for big business in the state.

The state’s primary exports include computers, cut diamonds, electronics, and processed food, earning an estimated $71 billion per year. Other important exports include fur, printed materials, railroad equipment, vehicle parts, and even textiles. New York City, in particular, makes up the center of the state’s textile and automobile industries. It also doubles as the state’s biggest most important departure for exports to foreign markets.

Canada makes up the state’s biggest export market, followed by Britain, Switzerland, Israel, and China. As for the state’s imports, they include aluminum, gold, natural gas, oil, rough diamonds, and wood. The state also imports electricity from neighboring states, as its energy industry cannot meet all its demands.

The state also has a surprisingly solid agricultural sector.

New York State has the USA’s third-largest grape harvests, and a wine industry second only to California. The Finger Lakes, the Hudson Valley, the Lake Erie coastline, and even Long Island’s North Fork, grow most of the state’s grapes. An estimated 25,000 people work in the wine industry alone, which makes an estimated $5 billion per year.

Overall, the state ranks among the top five US states in agriculture. Other major products from the state include apples, cabbages, cherries, dairy, maple syrup, onions, and potatoes. Farms cover a full 25% of the state’s land area, while a solid fishing industry also operates offshore. Major catches include clams, flounder, lobster, and squid.

New York State has also invested in solar energy.

The state has the biggest solar farm on the Atlantic Seaboard of the USA, the Long Island Solar Farm, with a capacity of 37 MW. The enXco Eastern Solar Long Island Solar Project also operates in the area, with a capacity of 17 MW. New York City also has plans to build another and even bigger solar farm, with a capacity of 50 MW.

Other plans also exist on the state level, aimed at building 22 solar farms over the following decade, for a maximum capacity of 646 MW. That said, while the state has an interest in developing green energy, they give more focus to wind over solar at present.

New York State has a very well-developed transport infrastructure.

The state has one of the world’s most extensive transportation networks. In fact, the subway in New York City alone handles over 5 million passengers per day. Major railways in the state include the Northeast Corridor, which links New York State with Massachusetts and Washington D.C. There’s also the Empire Corridor, which goes from New York City to Buffalo, passing by the Niagara Falls before continuing to Toronto in Canada.

That said, bus lines such as Greyhound Lines, Megabus, and OurBus provide the primary public intercity transport services. The state also has the John F. Kennedy International Airport, which also makes up the busiest airport in North America.

New York State Facts, New York Subway
Photo by MTAEnthusiast10 from Wikipedia

The death penalty has a complicated history in New York State.

The New York State became the first in the USA to abolish hanging and replaced it with the electric chair. The last death penalty carried out in the state took place in 1963, with the execution of convicted robber and murderer Eddie Lee Mays. The state suspended all death penalties in 1973. This followed a US Supreme Court ruling that existing capital punishment procedures actually violated the US Constitution.

Governor George Pataki overhauled state procedures in 1995 to bring them in line with the US Supreme Court’s ruling. However, the New York State Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that the overhauled proceeding violated the state constitution. New York State finally abolished the death penalty at the state level in 2008, with only felons in federal custody subject to the death penalty.

The state participates in various sports.

Multiple teams competing in the NFL come from New York State, such as the Buffalo Bills, the New York Giants, and the New York Jets. The state also has two of the most famous teams in major league baseball, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. The New York Mets, in particular, have a famous reputation for their losing streak, having lost more games than they’ve won.

Both players and fans, however, love this about the team, as it gives them an air of underdogs. New York State also participates in the NBA, with the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.