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Chemung County, New York facts for kids

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Chemung County
Chemung County Courthouse
Chemung County Courthouse
Official seal of Chemung County
Map of New York highlighting Chemung 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 March 29, 1836
Seat Elmira
Largest city Elmira
 • Total 411 sq mi (1,060 km2)
 • Land 407 sq mi (1,050 km2)
 • Water 3.4 sq mi (9 km2)  0.8%
 • Total 84,148
 • Density 206.6/sq mi (79.8/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 23rd

Chemung County is a county in the southern tier of the U.S. state of New York. The population was 84,148 as of the 2020 census. Its county seat is Elmira. Its name is derived from a Delaware Indian village whose name meant "big horn".

Chemung County comprises the Elmira, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Elmira-Corning, NY Combined Statistical Area.

Many signs posted along roads in Chemung County refer to the area as "Mark Twain Country," because the noted author lived and wrote for many years in Elmira.


For the history of Chemung County prior to its creation by partition, see Tioga County, New York.

Chemung County was formed from 520 square miles (1,300 km2) of Tioga County in 1836.

In 1854, Chemung County was divided and 110 square miles (280 km2) became Schuyler County, reducing Chemung to 410 square miles (1,100 km2), its current size.

In the late 1870s, the Greenbacker Party became prominent in Chemung and nearby counties in western New York. Here it was primarily allied with labor in a critique of capital, reaching its peak in 1878, the year following the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and the Scranton General Strike in Pennsylvania. There were also strikes that year in Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo, starting with the railroad workers. In Steuben and Chemung counties, Greenbackers were elected to county councils in 1878 instead of Democrats, and others were elected from there and nearby counties to the state legislature, gaining votes of more than 25 percent in several of the Southern Tier counties. It gradually declined after that, due to internal dissension and the strength of the two major parties.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 411 square miles (1,060 km2), of which 407 square miles (1,050 km2) is land and 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2) (0.8%) is water.

Chemung County is in the southwestern part of New York State, along the Pennsylvania border, in a part of New York called the Southern Tier and is also part of the Finger Lakes Region.

The Southern Tier Expressway runs through the County east-west near the Pennsylvania border, between Waverly, New York and Corning, New York via Elmira, New York.

Adjacent counties


Major highways

  • I-86.svg NY-17.svg Interstate 86 / New York State Route 17 (Southern Tier Expressway)
  • NY-13.svg New York State Route 13
  • NY-14.svg New York State Route 14
  • NY-34.svg New York State Route 34
  • NY-223.svg New York State Route 223
  • NY-328.svg New York State Route 328
  • NY-352.svg New York State Route 352
  • NY-367.svg New York State Route 367
  • NY-414.svg New York State Route 414
  • NY-427.svg New York State Route 427


  • Elmira Corning Regional Airport


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 20,732
1850 28,821 39.0%
1860 26,917 −6.6%
1870 35,281 31.1%
1880 43,065 22.1%
1890 48,265 12.1%
1900 54,063 12.0%
1910 54,662 1.1%
1920 65,872 20.5%
1930 74,680 13.4%
1940 73,718 −1.3%
1950 86,827 17.8%
1960 98,706 13.7%
1970 101,537 2.9%
1980 97,656 −3.8%
1990 95,195 −2.5%
2000 91,070 −4.3%
2010 88,830 −2.5%
2020 84,148 −5.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the 2000 census, there were 91,070 people, 35,049 households and 23,272 families residing in the county. The population density was 223 per square mile (86/km2). There were 37,745 housing units at an average density of 92 per square mile (36/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 90.96% White, 5.82% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.78% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. 1.77% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.4% were of German, 15.7% Irish, 12.5% English, 11.8% Italian, 7.8% American and 6.3% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000 [1]. Most of those claiming to be of "American" ancestry are of English descent and, in upstate New York, also in some cases of Dutch descent, but have family that has been in the country for so long, in many cases since the early seventeenth century, that they choose to identify simply as "American". 96.2% spoke English and 1.6% Spanish as their first language.

There were 35,049 households, of which 31.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.80% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.60% were non-families. 27.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.97.

Age distribution was 24.40% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 15.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.30 males.

The median household income was $36,415, and the median family income was $43,994. Males had a median income of $35,076 versus $24,215 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,264. About 9.10% of families and 13.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.40% of those under age 18 and 6.80% of those age 65 or over.





Census-designated places



Education in Chemung County is provided by various private and public institutions. High school students and adults have access to GST BOCES. BOCES provides vocation-style training in a wide range of fields as well as adult education.

Public school districts

  • Horseheads Central School District
  • Elmira City School District
  • Elmira Heights Central School District

Private schools

  • Chemung Valley Montessori School
  • Elmira Christian Academy
  • Holy Family Middle School
  • Saint Mary Our Mother School
  • Notre Dame High School
  • Twin Tiers Christian Academy

Higher education

  • Arnot Ogden School of Nursing
  • Corning Community College (off-campus sites)
  • Elmira College
  • Elmira Business Institute

Public libraries

Chemung County Library District

Steele Memorial Library
Steele Memorial Library
  • Steele Memorial Library
  • Horseheads Free Library
  • Big Flats Library
  • West Elmira Library
  • Van Etten Library
  • Chemung County Bookmobile

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Chemung para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Prominent Hispanic scientists
Severo Ochoa
Sarah Stewart
Mario J. Molina
Rodolfo Llinás
F. J. Duarte
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