New York Regional Information and Higher Education Facts

New York is a Northeastern state of more than 19 million residents. It has numerous postsecondary institutions, including several well-known universities, private colleges and seminaries. Find out more about the state, its population and school options below.

About New York

New York is the nation's fourth-largest state by population and a major trade, transportation, manufacturing and finance center. New York State's 19.8 million residents, based on 2015 U.S. census estimates, are heavily concentrated in New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers and Syracuse. Its largest metropolis is New York City, the biggest city in the U.S. and the core of one of the world's most populous metropolitan regions. New York City's population was 8.5 million, as of 2015 census estimates. Despite the state's reputation for urbanity and cosmopolitan living, much of New York outside these cities is rural, particularly in the far upstate region.

New York City is home to some of the United States' most-visited tourist destinations, including the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Times Square. The Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim Museum are also in the city, along with an active theater scene in the Midtown district.

Outside the city, New York has a diversity of natural settings, ranging from the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains to the inland Great Lakes regions. Several state parks and forest preserves can be found here, along with Niagara Falls, Gateway National Recreation Area and Fire Island National Seashore. New York's climate can be extreme, especially near Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, where lake effect can cause heavy snowfall during winter months.

Higher Education

New York has 477 colleges, universities, career schools and community colleges. Only California enrolls more postsecondary students in its colleges and universities. The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest public university system in the U.S. with 64 campuses across the state, 30 of which are two-year community colleges. Several SUNY campuses are specialized, with different schools focusing on fashion, environmental science, health care and other disciplines.

The state is home to some highly ranked institutions of higher learning, including the Ivy League institutions of Cornell University in Ithaca and Columbia University in New York City. Cornell was ranked 15th among national universities in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report, while Columbia University was ranked 4th among national universities in that same year. New York University is the largest school in the state with about 50,000 students. Located in Greenwich Village, it offers both undergraduate and graduate programs and was listed 32nd among national universities in 2016, according to U.S. News.

Other colleges and universities include University at Buffalo, Syracuse University, Hofstra University, Barnard College, Vassar College and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Rochester, Colgate University and Fordham University are also found in the state, along with numerous rabbinical seminaries, community colleges, nursing programs and medical and healthcare schools.

New York City maintains a public university system of its own, the City University of New York (CUNY) system. It has 24 campuses throughout the city.


New York State's economy is anchored by New York City, the nation's center for finance, banking, media and publishing and a major transportation and manufacturing hub. Many Fortune 500 companies have headquarters in the city's largest business district, Midtown Manhattan. New York City also contributes significantly to the state's tourism industry, one of the country's largest.

The rural regions of the state are major agricultural areas, and their products include dairy, grapes, cattle, apples, cabbage and other vegetables. The city of Rochester is a well-known center for photographic and imaging technology. The industry that employed the most New York state residents was the educational services, healthcare and social service industry, according to 2015 census data. Other major employers included trade and transportation and government.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?