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Chautauqua County, New York facts for kids

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Chautauqua County
Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville
Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville
Official seal of Chautauqua County
Seal
Map of New York highlighting Chautauqua 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 February 9, 1811
Seat Mayville
Largest city Jamestown
Area
 • Total 1,500 sq mi (4,000 km2)
 • Land 1,060 sq mi (2,700 km2)
 • Water 440 sq mi (1,100 km2)  29%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 127,657
 • Density 120.4/sq mi (46.5/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 23rd

Chautauqua County is the westernmost county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2020 census, the population was 127,657. Its county seat is Mayville, and its largest city is Jamestown. Its name is believed to be the lone surviving remnant of the Erie language, a tongue lost in the 17th century Beaver Wars; its meaning is unknown and a subject of speculation. The county was created in 1808 and organized in 1811.

Chautauqua County comprises the Jamestown–DunkirkFredonia, NY Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is located south of Lake Erie and includes a small portion of the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca.

History

Most of Chautauqua County was held by the Erie people prior to the Beaver Wars in the 1650s. French forces traversed the territory beginning in 1615. The Seneca Nation conquered the territory during the Beaver Wars and held it through the next century until siding with the British crown, their allies for most of the 18th century, against the American revolutionaries in the American Revolutionary War.

Chautauqua County was organized by the state legislature during the development of western New York after the American Revolutionary War. It was officially separated from Genesee County on March 11, 1808. This partition was performed under the same terms that produced Cattaraugus and Niagara counties. The partition was done for political purposes, but the counties were not properly organized for self-government, so they were all administered as part of Niagara County.

On February 9, 1811, Chautauqua was completely organized, and its separate government was launched. This established Chautauqua as a county of 1,100 square miles (2,850 square km) of land. Chautauqua has not been altered since.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,500 square miles (3,900 km2), of which 1,060 square miles (2,700 km2) is land and 440 square miles (1,100 km2) (29%) is water.

Chautauqua County, in the southwestern corner of New York State, along the New York-Pennsylvania border, is the westernmost of New York's counties. Chautauqua Lake is located in the center of the county, and Lake Erie is its northern border.

Part of the Eastern Continental Divide runs through Chautauqua County. The area that drains into the Conewango Creek (including Chautauqua Lake) eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico; the rest of the county's watershed empties into Lake Erie and via Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway into the North Atlantic Ocean. This divide, known as the Chautauqua Ridge, can be used to mark the border between the Southern Tier and the Niagara Frontier. It is also a significant dividing point in the county's geopolitics, with the "North County" being centered on Dunkirk and the "South County" centered on Jamestown each having their own interests.

The county is generally composed of rolling hills and valleys, with elevations ranging anywhere between 1100 and 2100 feet, although the land within a few miles of Lake Erie is generally flat and at an elevation of 1000 feet or lower. The lowest point in the county is Lake Erie, at 571 feet (174 meters), and the highest point is Gurnsey Benchmark at 2180 feet (664 meters).

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • I-86 / NY 17
  • I-90 / New York State Thruway
  • US 20
  • US 62
  • NY 5
  • NY 39
  • NY 60
  • NY 394
  • NY 430

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 12,568
1830 34,671 175.9%
1840 47,975 38.4%
1850 50,493 5.2%
1860 58,422 15.7%
1870 59,327 1.5%
1880 65,342 10.1%
1890 75,202 15.1%
1900 88,314 17.4%
1910 105,126 19.0%
1920 115,348 9.7%
1930 126,457 9.6%
1940 123,580 −2.3%
1950 135,189 9.4%
1960 145,377 7.5%
1970 147,305 1.3%
1980 146,925 −0.3%
1990 141,895 −3.4%
2000 139,750 −1.5%
2010 134,905 −3.5%
2020 127,657 −5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the 2000 Census, there were 139,750 people, 54,515 households, and 35,979 families in the county. The population density was 132 people per square mile (51/km2). There were 64,900 housing units at an average density of 61 per square mile (24/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.04% White, 2.18% Black or African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.73% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. 4.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In terms of ancestry, 17.3% were German, 15.1% were Italian, 11.6% were Swedish, 10.9% were English, 9.3% were Polish, 9.2% were Irish and 5.6% were of American ancestry according to Census 2000. 93.0% spoke English and 3.8% Spanish as their first language.

Of the 54,515 households 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.90% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.00% were non-families. 28.10% of households were one person and 12.60% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.99.

The age distribution was 24.50% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 16.00% 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median household income was $33,458 and the median family income was $41,054. Males had a median income of $32,114 versus $22,214 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,840. About 9.70% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.30% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2010 Census, there were 134,905 people in the county. The population density was 127 people per square mile (49/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.57% (124,875 people) white, 2.37% (3,197 people) African-American, 0.51% (688 people) Asian, 0.51% (689 people) Native American/Alaskan, 0.03% (34 people) Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.98% (2,669 people) other, and 2.04% (2,751 people) two or more races. The Hispanic/Latino population of any race was 6.11% (8,241 people). In terms of ancestry, 25% were German, 16% were Italian, 12.8% were Swedish, 16% were English, 10.6% were Polish, 14.9% were Irish and 3.2% were of American ancestry according to the 2010 Census. 92.9% spoke English and 4.1% Spanish as their first language.

The age distribution was 21.83% of the population under the age of 18, 3.82% (5,155 people) ages 18 and 19, 7.50% (10,113 people) ages 20–24, 10.37% (13,985 people) ages 25–34, 18.83% (25,406 people) ages 35–49, 21.07% (28,419 people) ages 50–64, and 16.59% (22,381 people) over the age of 65. Of the population, 49.3% (66,509 people) were male and 50.7% (68,396 people) were female.

Communities

Chautauqua County, New York Divisions.png

Cities

Towns

Villages

Census-designated places

Other hamlets

Indian reservation

Education

Jamestown Community College has two campuses in the county at Jamestown and Dunkirk. The State University of New York at Fredonia is located in the northern part of the county. Jamestown Business College offers two year degrees, certificates, and a four-year degree in Jamestown.

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