We asked Wikipedia to define Upstate New York, so you don't have to.

There are few questions that are more controversial for residents of this area then where does Upstate New York start? People's answers to this question range from above New York City, to above Poughkeepsie, to above Albany and beyond. My favorite part about this question is that, try as you might, no single answer will ever be accepted as correct.

So, with that in mind, we decided to consult Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia and cheat-sheet for students everywhere, to see how it answers this tough question.

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We Needed to Know: How Does Wikipedia Define Upstate New York?

To put it simply, Wikipedia's entry on Upstate New York is just as confusing as any conversation we've ever had about the region. The encyclopedia lists numerous definitions for this phrase, and these were a few of them:

  • Although the precise boundary is debated, Upstate New York excludes New York City and Long Island.
  • Another usage locates the Upstate/Downstate boundary farther north, at the point where New York City's suburbs segue into its exurbs, as the exurbs do not generally fall within the Census Bureau-defined New York–Newark Urban Area.
  • Yet another usage follows the U.S. Census definition of the New York metropolitan area prior to 2010, which includes all of included Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties.
  • In New York state law, the definition of the Upstate boundary also varies: while Westchester is seemingly always considered Downstate under state law, some definitions include Rockland and Putnam counties in the downstate region, and others also include Orange and Dutchess counties; all of these counties are served by Metro-North Railroad lines.

Even the U.S. Census hasn't found a solid answer. Check this out:

  • In a 2016 poll of New York voters in which respondents were asked to choose among four definitions of where Upstate begins, three were about equally common, selected by between 25% and 30% of respondents each: north of New York City, north of Westchester County, and north of Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County. (The fourth, which also started north of Poughkeepsie but excluded Buffalo as a unique region neither Upstate nor Downstate, drew only 7%.)

Though some of you may be disappointed, the reality is this: no one, including Wikipedia, has a definitive answer for this question. A group of students over at UAlbany tried their best to answer this quandary, but even they were left without a singular answer.

The search continues for an answer that we can all agree on.

Google Auto-Completes 'Upstate New York' Search with These Words

Out of curiosity, we typed "Upstate New York" into the search engine Google, and these were the ten terms that auto-filled the search bar.

Gallery Credit: Dan Bahl

We Searched 'Upstate New York' on Getty, Which Photo is Most Popular?

We searched the regional term "Upstate New York" on the photo database Getty Images, and these were ten of the pictures people clicked on most often.

Gallery Credit: Dan Bahl

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