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Allegany County, New York facts for kids

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Allegany County
Old Allegany County Courthouse
Old Allegany County Courthouse
Map of New York highlighting Allegany County
Location within the U.S. state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  New York
Founded 1806
Named for Lenape name for the Allegheny River
Seat Belmont
Largest town Wellsville
 • Total 1,034 sq mi (2,680 km2)
 • Land 1,029 sq mi (2,670 km2)
 • Water 5.1 sq mi (13 km2)  0.5%
 • Total 46,456
 • Density 45.1/sq mi (17.4/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 23rd

Allegany County is a county in the Southern Tier of the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2020 census, the population was 46,456. Its county seat is Belmont. Its name derives from a Lenape word, applied by European-American settlers of Western New York State to a trail that followed the Allegheny River; they also named the county after this.

The county is bisected by the Genesee River, flowing north to its mouth on Lake Ontario. During the mid-nineteenth century, the Genesee Valley Canal was built to link southern markets to the Great Lakes and Mohawk River. The county was also served by railroads, which soon superseded the canals in their capacity for carrying freight. Part of the Oil Springs Reservation, controlled by the Seneca Nation, is located in the county.


This was for centuries the territory of the Seneca people, the westernmost nation of the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee, a confederacy of Iroquoian languages-speaking peoples. European-American permanent settlement did not take place until after the American Revolutionary War and the forced cession by the Seneca of most of their lands in western New York. New York State sold off the lands cheaply to attract new European-American settlers and agricultural development.

Allegany County was created by the state legislature on April 7, 1806 when Genesee County, New York was partitioned to set aside some 1,570 square miles (4,000 km2) to the new county. The first County Seat was established at Angelica, New York where it remained for half a century. It was later moved to Belmont, a village located along the Genesee River. On March 11, 1808, the borders were adjusted so that 230 square miles (600 km2) of Steuben County passed to Allegany County, and 600 miles (1,000 km) of Allegany County passed to Genesee County. This established the current border between Genesee and Steuben counties, and reduced the size of Allegany County to 1,200 square miles (3,100 km2). On June 12, 1812, the legislature authorized the attachment of Cattaraugus County, New York to Allegany County for administration reasons, but for practical reasons this action did not take place at that time. However, on April 13, 1814, the eastern half of Cattaraugus County was so attached and administered from Belmont. This attachment was ended on March 28, 1817. With continued settlement through the mid-nineteenth century, the legislature periodically adjusted county borders as new counties were organized in western New York. On April 1, 1846, Allegany County lost 120 square miles (310 km2) to Wyoming County, reducing the size of Allegany County to 1,140 square miles (3,000 km2), and establishing the current border between Allegany and Wyoming counties. On May 11, 1846, Allegany County lost 50 square miles (100 km2) to Livingston County, reducing the total to 1,090 square miles (2,800 km2), and establishing the western portion of the current border with Livingston County. On March 23, 1857, Allegany County lost another 40 square miles (100 km2) to Livingston County, passing the Ossian, New York area to Livingston County, and establishing the current border between them.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,034 square miles (2,680 km2), of which 1,029 square miles (2,670 km2) is land and 5.1 square miles (13 km2) (0.5%) is water.

Allegany County is in the southwestern part of New York State, along the Pennsylvania border. Allegany County does not lie along the Allegheny River, as its name would suggest. The highest point in the county is Alma Hill, with an elevation of 2,548 feet above sea level. This is the highest point in the state west of the Catskill Mountains. The highest point of Interstate 86 is located in the Town of West Almond with an elevation of 2,110 feet. This is also believed to be the highest point of any interstate in the New York.

The County is unique from a watershed perspective as it is providing water to three major watersheds of North America: The eastern part near Alfred has Canacadea Creek that goes into the Canisteo River, Susquehanna River and eventually to Chesapeake Bay.

The Genesee River bisects the county from south to north, flowing north out of the County through Letchworth State Park with its three waterfalls on to Rochester over three more waterfalls to its mouth on Lake Ontario and then on to the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Ocean.

The southwestern part of the County flows into the Allegheny River that flows into the Ohio and then to the Mississippi River basin to the Gulf of Mexico.

In June 1972 the remnants of Hurricane Agnes stalled over the area, dropping more than 20 inches (510 mm) of rain. Flooding took place in the valley communities of Wellsville, Belmont, Belfast and others in the county.

Long a necessary transportation waterway for the Seneca and other Native Americans, and successive European-American settlers, since the late 20th century, the Genesee River has been extremely popular with canoeists. The river is also favored by fishermen as it abounds in smallmouth bass, trout and panfish.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • I-86.svg Interstate 86
  • NY-17.svg New York State Route 17 (Southern Tier Expressway)
  • NY-19.svg New York State Route 19
  • NY-21.svg New York State Route 21
  • NY-305.svg New York State Route 305
  • NY-417.svg New York State Route 417


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,942
1820 9,330 380.4%
1830 26,276 181.6%
1840 40,975 55.9%
1850 37,808 −7.7%
1860 41,881 10.8%
1870 40,814 −2.5%
1880 41,810 2.4%
1890 43,240 3.4%
1900 41,501 −4.0%
1910 41,412 −0.2%
1920 36,842 −11.0%
1930 38,025 3.2%
1940 39,681 4.4%
1950 43,395 9.4%
1960 43,978 1.3%
1970 46,782 6.4%
1980 51,742 10.6%
1990 50,470 −2.5%
2000 49,927 −1.1%
2010 48,923 −2.0%
2020 46,456 −5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the census of 2020, there were 46,456 people. Based on earlier (2000) censuses, there were 18,009 households, and 12,192 families residing in the county. The population density was 48 people per square mile (19/km2). There were 24,505 housing units at an average density of 24 per square mile (9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.03% White, 0.72% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.3% identified as being of German, 16.6% English, 13.8% Irish, 11.9% American and 7.0% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 96.5% spoke English and 1.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 18,009 households, out of which 31.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.40% under the age of 18, 15.50% from 18 to 24, 23.90% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 99.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,106, and the median income for a family was $38,580. Males had a median income of $30,401 versus $21,466 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,975. About 10.50% of families and 15.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.20% of those under age 18 and 7.50% of those age 65 or over.


Allegany County comprises 30 Towns and 10 Villages.



Census-designated places


Indian reservations


Higher education facilities include Alfred University, the New York State College of Ceramics (a member of SUNY), Alfred State College, and Houghton College. The county has twelve school districts with their buildings in the county and parts of an additional six districts. Districts include: Alfred-Almond Central, Canaseraga Central that are part of the Greater Southern Tier BOCES with a facility in Hornell. Districts in association with the Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES include: Andover Central, Whitesville Central, Wellsville Central, Bolivar-Richburg Central, Scio Central, Genesee Valley Central, Belfast Central, Fillmore Central, Friendship Central, and Cuba-Rushford Central. Districts with their buildings outside the County include Portville, Pioneer, Letchworth, and Keshequa. There are two private schools: Immaculate Conception in Wellsville and Houghton Academy in Houghton. There are also two Montessori Schools in Wellsville and Alfred.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Allegany (Nueva York) para niños

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